Packing up and heading back overseas, even after several furloughs is still a time of mixed emotions. (Check out what Beth White, missionary wife to Bolivia, has to say about that. http://www.womenbehindthescenes.com/2013/04/05/an-hundred-fold/ )
Reentry back into the country that we had previously felt at home in takes some adjustment as well. Even though I try to brace myself for it, some of my emotions still catch me by surprise every time we come back. We have been back in Burkina Faso for one week. I have been frustrated a few times, but I have to say the things that HAVE worked out far outweigh the things that haven’t. Here are some of the things, in random order, that have brought me joy in the last week. Some are huge life-altering situations. Some are small and insignificant to most people; however, even the smallest things excite me!
- A friend picked us up from the airport and helped us with our luggage, all of which arrived with no problems.
- Another friend cleaned the house for us, such a welcome sight because I know what it COULD have looked like.
- A bottle of cooking spray (a mistake to pack) sprayed itself empty in a suitcase. NOTHING was ruined.
- We were able to host some youth and young preachers from our church to watch a soccer match on our TV.
- My children have been so happy! Playing with toys, seeing our church family, entertaining themselves by making up their own games, even helping serve guests.
- We have managed to get back into a homeschool routine that is working wonderfully.
- The church members have taken initiative to improve the outside walls around the property and the building. They have put out signs, planted flowers, and built benches with BACKS!
- New souls have been saved in our absence.
- Many church members have remained faithful despite obstacles they have faced and others trying to pull them away.
- A lady that started a Sunday School class with me some time back is leading it herself. I enjoyed hearing her teach and seeing her relate to the women. I saw her go out of her way to welcome new visitors; and then, when a lady raised her hand for salvation after the service, she counseled with her. Just sitting back and watching someone else do what you have tried to teach them to do for so many years is incredible.
- Before I left I approached a young lady about starting a children’s choir. They sang on Sunday morning, and it was wonderful! Another lady helped them learn to harmonize, something many in our church, including myself, can’t do. One little sweetheart in the group was too shy to talk when we left six months ago, and she was singing her heart out!
- The same young lady who started the children’s choir has been doing a discipleship course with a newcomer.
- The youth choir was equally impressive. Seeing our African youth sing to the Lord always thrills me!
- I enjoyed my husband’s preaching on Sunday morning. Sunday evening, I also appreciated hearing the pastor from here. The way he relates to his own people as he preaches is amazing.
- Other pastors and their wives are faithfully serving in other areas of our town and outlying areas.
- A sweet pastor’s wife that I was able to do discipleship with many years ago pedaled her bike with a child on the back of it many miles out to greet me. We had a great visit talking about the ministry and encouraging one another.
- I just talked to another pastor’s wife on the phone who called to welcome me back. She seemed happy to talk to me and excited about the work of the Lord.
- It has not been unbearably hot here. (Just a little warm. :))
- A new store within walking distance carries some items that I usually have to drive miles into a crowded town to find.
- We have reconnected with other missionaries here and are gearing up for a Thanksgiving meal. I was excited to find pumpkin yesterday, and my kitchen is finally set up to start cooking in. (I have quite a few things to be thankful for.)
- God has given me perfect peace in my heart through yet another transition. He has been patient with my attitude when things haven’t gone just right and continues to pour blessings upon me each day.
I could go on and on about other things that have encouraged me. I don’t serve God because of the blessings He gives, but because He first loved me and gave Himself for me. Just thinking through the good things that have happened in the last week, however, has shown me how few and small the struggles have been. I have quit thinking about the problems. (They are in every ministry.) The good has far outweighed the bad, not only in the last seven days, but in our lives and ministry as well. Shame on me for not seeing it so many times.
Maybe this list does not impress anyone or speak to you on a deeply spiritual level. I hope it will, at least, encourage you all to look for the good in your circumstances. No matter what situation you are facing today, you can find a reason to smile. God will bring something good out of your trial either now or in eternity. If you can find nothing to smile about, meditate on this verse. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Cor. 15:58) That thought should bring you joy as you continue on for him.
Thanks for reading!Rebecca