I’ve smacked my face into the wall of Jericho…

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So… There is this idea that as missionaries, as missionaries supported by others, I need to portray all the victories of God with joy and enthusiasm that assures you that your participation in these efforts are yielding fruit and prospering well.

In one of our missions classes or maybe a book we had to read before coming, it spoke of the different “levels” at which you share of what is going on, taking place, weighing upon and stirring in.  Not that it was directing this, but that it was a common screening groove many missionaries get into, often finding themselves isolated.

I’ve been told I’m a very private person, although I don’t feel that way.  I really do feel I bring people in… Maybe not as much as I enjoy entering into the hearts of others, but I have certainly become one thing out here… And THAT is… a much more open book.

That all being said… We need prayer.  I need prayer.  Without going into details, our trip to Kisii last week was extremely difficult, discouraging and despairing.  I have struggled with how God can possible use my bitter and ugly heart.  I have struggled with the deep lack of power and a homesickness that is physically painful.  I’m struggling with the questions of who, what, when, where, how…  And….. Why?

My back is hurting.  My eyes are hurting.  My brain is hurting. My tooth is hurting. And, my heart is hurting.

I’ve run smack face into my “Jericho Wall“.

As I am reading the book of Joshua I found myself like the spies… Oh not these two…. Rather… One of the ten from 30-40 years earlier that we see in Numbers.  The ones that came back and reported to Moses… It’s too dangerous, the giants are too big, we will be overtaken!  I even went on just as the Israelites in chapter 14 and I’ve wept all night, crying out with my voice to The Lord… Why have you brought me here?  Why did I leave everything for this?  I can’t do this!  I CAN”T BREATHE!!!!!

I am left tonight with a decision.  Will I now turn back?  Will I now be content to wander?  Will I book the ticket I found online?  Will I pull out the bags from under the bed?  Will I succumb to the defeat of the unknown…  Or…. Am I going to be strong and of good courage?  Am I going to trust my God?  Am I going to obey despite the craziness of the plan?  I mean, come on….  Silently march around the city wall once a day for 6 days?  Ahhh what?  This all AFTER….  Right after…. the entire army had been circumcised???

First, I need to go back.  I need to re-read…  I need to slip away and be just like that young man… Knowing he had heard a voice… Going back again and again…  “You called, Eli?”  Finally after being awakened the third time… Eli realized young Samuel is hearing GOD!!!!

I need to go back… And say like Samuel… “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening”. I need to go back and see that The Lord told Joshua not once… Not twice… But in this chapter alone… FOUR times… “Only be strong and of good courage”.

I need to go and remember…

Come here and hear the words of Your God (Joshua 3:9)  

By this you WILL know that the Living God is among you (Joshua 3:10)

He will…without fail…. Drive out your enemies (Joshua 3:10 )

And… As HE so clearly spoke to me a few weeks back… 

Sanctify yourself… For tomorrow… The Lord will do wonders among you! (Joshua 3:5) 

This battle is not mine!  This battle will be fought by the Commander of the army just as He assured Joshua before the crazy plan was put into action and they marched around silently SIX times on that 7th day and then… The 7th time around… After the trumpet sounded… “SHOUT, for The Lord has given the city!”

I don’t know the plan.  What little I know is a bit crazy.  I know there may be giants in the land.  But I WILL ABIDE IN YOU!!!! Because… this one thing I know… With YOU… I can do anything!  (Sung in my heart with the voice of Gen Falleur)

So… I share all this not to complain, not to whine, not for sympathy or even permission to bail…. I share this because with all my heart… Honestly with all that is inside me… I want to obey… I want to be a part of HIS plan… I want to be strong and courageous… I want to be sanctified… And…. I want see the Living God give the city!!!!

So… I again ask your prayers.  

I will give a couple praises…

Our work permit/dependent pass is IN HAND… Record 2 months!

And God is truly teaching me the gift I have in Randy who has been so incredibly loving, patient, gentle, encouraging and showering me with prayer.  I am opening my heart more now… To this man of mine for 32 years… Than ever before.  It really has never been just us… So… It is good… It’s SAULGOOD!

 

Gotta love Saturdays!!!!

What a wonderful day!

Thank you Lord!  Your mercies are new, Your blessings flow and Your faithfulness amazes me!  Your work and Your touch, Your Spirit moving before my eyes… YES, YES, YES!  I want to be a part of everything I can!

Rainy season in Kenya is beginning.  We woke to the gentle rain that lulled us to sleep all night.  A leisure morning, sweet time in God’s Word, devotional blessing and my Saturday prayer list which is all about missions and missionaries. My list is growing each week as God crosses our path with others serving Him far from home.

We headed out early with our first stop… Java House!  Ahhhh I needed that!  Didn’t even bother to see if it’s on the list of foods I can eat or not!

We then stopped by the home of a couple we go to language school with.  They have been serving in Senegal for 7 or so years and have recently been sent here to Kenya.  We sat and chatted for a short while and, well, you would have to meet them.  Jason and Dorothea Lee.  They have been great encouragers these last few months.  And Jason… He just reminds me of my boys… A combination of the two… Hilarious, sincere, crazy, class clown, smart and just a great guy who loves his family.  Dorothea, the perfect, hold-her-own help mate!  They have a beautiful family and it was fun to meet the kids today.

After a few errands we headed to Ed’s.  He was hosting a get together to welcome the Pottingers back from a furlough in the states.  Kelli is still in the states but will be headed back in a few weeks!

As we drove up we saw a little one run through the house!  We were greeted at the door with hugs and introductions. Just my style!

I first met Matt Pottinger when he came to teach at the conference in Kisii our team hosted in 2011.  Months before leaving the states, I met his wife, Peggy, via email when she responded to a post I did on the CCMW site. http://ccmissionarywomen.wordpress.com/ Her sweet encouragement had hinted that I would very much like to know her better.  Today totally confirmed that.

They have two girls… Almost 6-year-old, confident and talkative Kenya Grace.  Oh my she made me smile as she told me how she had been “making good choices” after I complimented her on helping her sister, 2-year-old Joelle.  Of course I had to spend a little time with them… Just to catch a grandma breath.  Check em out…  http://www.thep3inkisumu.blogspot.com/

It’s pretty sweet to meet people you have prayed for by name, prayed for their ministry and requests you know.  It really is a gift to see God stir a little “history” through those prayers and bind hearts through His Love!

THEN…. we met Ramsey & Vicky Vule and their very tall handsome 4-year-old Elhanan.  They are missionaries in Sudan, where Ramsey is from.  I spent maybe an hour in a conversation of 7, and while I’ve learned more about them since coming back and reading their blog… I just felt that sweet connection in Christ!  You can read more about them too…    http://vules.blogspot.com/

There is this unspoken bond, this comradery, this unity that I have observed among the missionaries here.  And when I just looked up that word for the spelling… It’s definition…  the special comradery that exists between soldiers that have experienced the crucible of combat together.  Well, that runs even deeper as I sit and listen to them talk and share and discuss… Well… The battle field.

So… In the last few weeks… I’ve met some sisters… Camille, Sissy, Vicky and Peggy, along with a few I am afraid I can’t remember their names… So… I’ll just call them Sweetie.   Anyways… As just this morning I found myself missing friends with whom I have long history… I still prayed through my list of missionaries, stopping on each one and asking God to fill them, anoint them, comfort them, assure them, remind them….  Praying for them as I am learning their needs suggested through my own.

And… Today… God showed me His faithfulness as I see Him building a family like He has blessed us with over the last 8, 10, 15, 20 even 25 years.

A different branch in the family tree, a different part of the battle field, but indeed, the same family and the same purpose!

OHHHH. To top it off…. I came back home to meet with Elizabeth.  We sat on the front porch. Read a couple of chapters in Joshua and she shared a little of her battle…. When she left she was encouraged by Gods Word and she was expectant of His promises.  All I can say is our God is so amazing and He is moving in ways so that the Word of The Lord can be fulfilled!  AND… He is letting me sit in another front row seat!!   Oh yeah… Let me be a part, Lord, I wanna be a part!

Answered Prayer…

Well, can you believe Monday will be TWO months since we arrived in Kenya?  At moments I feel I just left, at so many more, it seems like NINE months.

So much has happened… Both here and there.  So much emotion has stirred my heart… if emotion was gauged by time… I have aged 5 years.

I will confess, I’ve struggled with much, not least of which has been writing.  Short quips on Facebook is one thing.. but blogging… quite another.  I’ve had much on my mind and much swirling in my heart…

TOP OF THE LIST….  Meet Naomi Grace Saul.

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Yes, if you even need to ask, it has been harder than hard, more painful than imagined to be so far from the welcoming event of Naomi.  My girls have been amazing with constant pictures and videos.  And, just as she did with Levi when he was born in Canada, my sweet grandma partner, Barbara (Rachel’s mama) blessed me with a beautifully written detailed description of our precious little girl with the eyes, ears and heart that only her grandmother could do.

I know I’ve share with many and have blogged the details… But the certainty I have known of God’s call on our lives to come to Kenya has sustained me more than I can express.  Many tear filled nights, a few breath gasping moments, concentrating hard… Making myself fix my eyes…. And taking captive my thoughts… I have clung to my Hope, I have been reminded of His Faithfulness and I have and continue to TRUST HIM!  I have and continue to KNOW — He is worth it!  My God is worth it!!

This week God blessed me so deeply.  I wandered down the lane and saw a young woman I met a few weeks ago.  Elizabeth.  I have only ever seen her with her 7 month old little girl bundled on her back and this day was no different.

“Oh Elizabeth, Habari za mchana?”  She smiled at me such a sweet sincere smile.  I tried some more Swahili with her, she giggled and strained to see my “mwakenya”, Shang or slang for “cheat sheet”.  Yep, I have one, I admit it, AND I am laminating it this weekend!!

We talked for a few minutes, me trying my Swahili  Elizabeth correcting me with sweet grace.  She suddenly began to look around a bit nervously and said she had to finish her work. She bent over at the waste, with her precious load hugging her back, and picked up some twine and a large white clothe bag, similar to the ones I see daily strapped to backs, to donkeys and even motorcycles, stuffed full of one crop or another.

She started into the field beside the road.  I asked her if I could go with her, and she looked back at me a bit bewildered, “sawa sawa” she said and I promptly stepped unto the muddy trail and followed her through the corn, cabbage, beans… Each patch she would pause for me to give her the Swahili name.  She paused at one I didn’t know, she bent over and pulled out a carrot…. “karoti”. She giggled because it was a borrowed word as she wiped it off on her apron and took a bite.

Towards the other edge of the shamba we stopped, she dropped the bag and the handful of twine.  Without missing a beat in our conversation she bent over and in a few short moments having swung around to several plants, grabbing a string, she stood up with a bundle of spinach and tied it up.  The next one she came up with I took from her and somehow managed to have it tied before she straightened up with the third bundle.  I followed her around, she, gathering the bundle of goods, and me, wrapping the piece of twine, tying the last little bit in a knot.

After a dozen or so, we could continue our conversation while working.  We talked of several things and at some point I must have said something about having been praying for something.  I don’t even remember what.  But without straightening up, she turned to me and said, “I use to pray to God, but” and with her arm just above her head “they only go to here”.

Wow… Out of no where…. In a field of mud and well harvested vegetables, God had swung open a door… A door I had cried for in my prayers.  Honestly, I prayed more than I responded.  I did tell her, when she said she wanted to know God more, that He wanted that more than she did.

She wasn’t out there today… I worried I might have gotten her in trouble or something. Her son, Chris said she was at the shamba on the other side, too far to walk, he said.

So I prayed for her and for her friend that had come at the end, Grace.  Grace dropped her wall of reservation quickly as I “practiced” my Swahili and oohed at her name and told her that it was one of the names of my new “moja wiki wajaku!”.  And, in case you are wondering, I had pictures with me, yep, even in the shamba!

We are leaving tomorrow to camp out at our friends for the Monday Presidential election.  I hope to see Elizabeth before I leave.  I want to remind her that when I get back, we will start that Bible Study I am working on and she can help me to get it down in Swahili.  She seemed excited about that.  I know I am.

Please… Be praying… Pray for the elections… Pray for Kenya… Pray for peace…. Pray for protection of the sweet and precious people of this beautiful country.  And… Pray for Elizabeth.  Pray for Grace.  Pray for time together and that Elizabeth will come to know God well, His deep love for her, His faithfulness, His grace and His kindness.