Thursday, August 13, 2009

My God-Moment Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days where God seemed to put everything in place so His word could be shared. Immaculee came by to say thank you for some things I had helped her with recently. Often when she stops by it is just as I'm preparing lunch or dinner for my family and I'm not able to talk long...though she could talk for hours! I admit that a lot of my time with her has felt like wasted time to me. I wasn't sure why God had put this woman in my life...I'm still not sure, but He did give me a God-moment yesterday. We had been chatting for a few minutes about what was going on in our lives right now, all the while keeping an eye on Corban who was trying to play in the dog food. At some point, Caden decided to join us outside so now my attention was stretched between 3 people. Immaculee was telling me about a new family (a mother and three children) who were now renting her spare room. She was quite excited to have housemates again because she gets so lonely living by herself. The mother did not have the money to pay the usual three months rent in advance to secure the rental. Immaculee said she knew what it was like to be poor and felt sorry for her. She decided to help the woman out and let her stay and simply pay the monthly rent when she had money. I told her that she reminded me of a story in the Bible called The Good Samaritain. She had never heard it. About that time, Akla (the rabbit guy) showed up with a friend. The children followed him to the rabbits to play. I trust my children with Akla and knew he would let them play but not let them get hurt. This allowed me to turn my full attention back to Immaculee. I told her the short story and then decided to take it a step further. I went and got a French Bible and my English Bible. (If you don't know, Immaculee speaks French and English very well but is always wanting to improve her English so she can communicate with her daughter in America.) She read Luke 10:25-37 out loud in French and then I read it in English. She loved the story. And I loved the moment. As we were ending our discussion, Akla was leaving and the mosquitoes where coming out forcing us to end for the day. I have no doubt there will be many conversations in the future that will feel like wasted time between Immaculee and myself...but when God blesses me with moments like this one, it feels like it's worth it. As she was leaving, she asked me when I was going to give her a Bible. I told her, "For now, you can come and read mine". I hope she asks the next time she comes for a visit.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

See Ya Soon "Miss" Ethel

I heard a missionary say once that there are no goodbyes, only see-you-soons. But if you really knew it was your last time to see them would you be able to not say goodbye? Is it really goodbye? If we will one day see them again and their memories are forever with us then isn't it just another "see ya soon"?

As people living in a land that is not our own, we are never going to be comfortable with what goes on around us. I am beginning to learn this on a whole new level. Since our arrival in Togo, we have had to distantly say "goodbye" to six people and grieve in our own way. A wise friend recently told me, " Such is the life of a warrior and warrioress on a foreign field of battle. Foxes have holes and birds have nests--but we have no place to lay our heads." This is one aspect of our job that I was not prepared for.

The above picture is the only one I have of my family with Curt and Ethel Pemberton. It was taken on our 2008 furlough when the GracePointe elders and their wives had a dinner/meeting with us. "Miss" Ethel passed away Sunday morning. I have told many people that she was a woman that truly understood the daily blessings that God puts in our lives. I am so thankful that we were able to see her and spend time with her during our recent furlough in March/April. "Miss" Ethel was a woman of energy. A true gift from God...I don't know where else she could have gotten all that energy. She was an encourager, a provider, a servant, a helper, a grandmother to so many, and a lovely southern woman that loved God with all her heart. We will notice she is missing on our next furlough to Montgomery. Thank you "Miss" Ethel for the amazing example you were to me and my family. God has blessed us many times through you.

Please keep the Pemberton family and others at GracePoine as they mourn the loss of Ethel yet rejoice in knowing we'll see her soon.