Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Mission Giver

“The mission must never become greater than the Mission Giver - Jesus.”
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to blog.  Some of the many reasons for my Internet absence has been no electricity, malaria, unpacking our container and trying to make our house a home, and, honestly, realizing my mission here at times is vastly different than what I’d expected.
However, since my last post, God has done great and marvelous things for our family.  
1.)  God is building our immune systems!  Reid was struck with malaria first, then Weston, then me.  This illness truly knocks people down.  For several days, I stayed in bed and could not be up for more than a few minutes because my head hurt so badly.  It was a declared time to rest - completely.  We were amazed by how people around us reached out to us to care for our family.  Our neighbors, the Devroys, helped us greatly with the boys.  They even bought ice packs for our fridge hoping to help salvage the food because we had been without electricity for so long.  Also, our friends from City of Refuge came by with homemade chicken noodle soup.  Even the noodles were made from scratch! (Thank you Stacy!) On the evening they came, they prayed over each of us asking God for complete healing.  It was precious.
Every time we told a Ghanaian that we were down with malaria, their words to us were, “Welcome to Ghana!”
Welcomed, we are.

2.)  Our container arrived last Tuesday.  We were blessed with neighbors, co-workers and friends to help us unload and unpack.   There were many times I had to look the other way when I saw how these African men removed things from the truck.  They are very strong and lifted our refrigerator off the truck by hand!

 It’s been like Christmas for our family.  Oh the reminders of home have been so fun to unpack.  For me, there has been an internal struggle with the amount of belongings we now have.  By American standards, we have little, but by the standards here, we have an abundant amount!  When I shared this with a missionary friend, her words to me were “I used to think I didn’t need things like this, but after being here as long as we have been, I’d like to have them.”  I'm not sure how to reconcile this to avoid the "guilt" that occasionally I feel when I look around me.
Over time, I think we will become more and more thankful for the things we chose to send over.  It’s been wonderful to see our boys reading books.  It’s been great to see them teaching the kids from the neighborhood new games from the container.  It’s been a huge blessing to wash clothes in a washing machine!  (For our family of seven, this is a tremendous gift!)  It’s been fun to add some touches of decor to our house that some sweet girls bought for us before we left Knoxville.  Additionally, as long as Reid is able to find everything here to hook it up, we now have our battery pack for when our home is without power.  I have loved hearing the boys play music again.  With their instruments now unpacked, they are now jamming and hopefully will play somewhere here soon.  

Our family has been grateful for the tastes from home!  Franklin unpacked his gift from Grace and Graham Peters then carried it like a true Ghanaian!  
Please know that we are sharing the tastes of home with other missionaries serving here.  You have no idea how wonderful it is to receive a taste of home.

3.)  As we’ve unpacked the container, it’s been wonderful to “give away” the donations that were sent here.  

Because of donations to Feeding the Orphans of liquid and dry formula
and other nutritional supplements, children will now be receiving
adequate nutrition.

 Feeding the Orphans is donating all of these supplies to two
organizations in Ghana - West Africa AIDS Foundation and City of
Refuge.  West Africa AIDS Foundation works with mothers who have tested positive for HIV.  These women are unable to breastfeed, so all of the formula will be nourishing infants from birth.  It's a
wonderful gift to help these children begin their life with the
vitamins and nutrients their little bodies need!

City of Refuge is using the nutritional supplements to nurture the
growth of children who have been rescued out of a life of slavery.
Many of these rescued children are extremely malnourished with
multiple nutritional deficiencies.  All of these donations will spur
these children on to stronger health and development.  Many of these
children will be living in the FTO Safe House, so it's doubly exciting
to know they will be recipients of these donations.

Thank you for donating these supplies to children who are in great
need of help.  We are grateful to all of you who have given.  If you
have any donations to offer children around the world, please contact
Feeding the Orphans.

4.)  As we unpacked, many boxes of school donations were given to Faith Roots Academy!  Before we left Knoxville, several homeschooling friends and a large public school in Maryville donated Math Manipulatives, Hands-On learning tools, and curriculum for the children here to us.  One donation was filled our van!  All of the supplies are now in the hands of teachers where it will be used to help teach the children here.

5.)  We also received several donations of Bibles.  Our desire is to place these in the hands of those who will use them as soon as possible.  As we unpacked, there were six brand new beautifully wrapped leather bound Bibles.  When I saw them, I felt like they needed to go somewhere special, but quickly moved on toward unpacking the next box.  That night, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about those six Bibles.  Actually, I should say God woke me up with those Bibles on my mind.  

This summer there is an FTO volunteer here serving at a home filled with boys.  His name is Michael Lown and he has been very intentional about teaching the boys the Word of God.  Every evening he hosts a Bible Study in his tiny room for the older boys.  He's challenged them with scripture memory and they have stepped up to the plate.  Most of the boys now have TEN Bible verses memorized within a few short weeks of time!  TEN!  

As I woke up, God told me to ask Michael about how many boys were in the Bible study.  Early the next morning, I called Michael to ask.  He began naming the boys, and guess how many are in the study?  Yes, SIX!  Can you believe it?  God already knew where those Bibles belonged.  Michael will be giving the boys their new Bibles with hopes they will continue growing in God's Word even after he returns home.  

6.)  We hosted our first ladies Bible Study here in our home.  Seven women came to the Bible Study - eight total.  Surprisingly, all were American.  Four were volunteers serving short time periods here on mission trips - the other four, including me, were missionaries.  In the short time I've been here, I have recognized the huge need for encouragement from others serving from overseas.  

Everyone arrived and enjoyed some snacks and fellowship.  (I made my famous Ranch Popcorn!)  After some visiting time, we gathered to have our Bible Study.  As soon as we were about to open God's Word, the power went out.  I am not kidding!  It was so clear that our enemy didn't want us to read the Truth!  It was pitch black in our den - total darkness.  

Quickly, I scavenged around our house to find light.  I grabbed our flashlight and found two candles that had been unpacked only a few hours prior!  Both the flashlight (thank you Kelly!) and the candles (thank you Bekah, Abby, Maddie, Hannah and Abby - photo right) were gifts to us before we left!  God knew we would need them!  So, all eight of the women scrunched around the light and we shared opened God's Word together beginning a study through Hebrews.  

As we gathered around the tiny lights on the floor, I kept thinking, "I can't believe I am in Africa having a Bible Study by candlelight!"  Oh, the light of Jesus filled the room!  It was a beautiful night full of encouragement, hope, and truth.

7.)  We received word today that our vehicle is in port!!   This is a HUGE PRAISE!  For over a month, we have been completely dependent on others for transportation.  God has beautifully provided - as He always does - but it will be nice to have transportation for our family.

Thank you for the continued prayers for our family.

I'm learning to embrace whatever mission the Lord places in front of me.  The Mission Giver knows what He wants me to do, I don't.  I'm learning to surrender my plans to His.  Whether I am chopping vegetables, unpacking a box, caring for a sick family member, setting up bunk beds in the FTO house, holding an orphan or holding one of my own boys - it glorifies God.  I'm thankful to be on mission with Him - whatever that looks like.   I'm so thankful for Jesus.

They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.
Hebrews 1:11-12

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