A book that every missionary EVERYONE should own…

As we have shared with some of you, our time of adjustment here has been filled with challenges. We are getting to the point where the honeymoon phase is over. (I am glad the honeymoon phase of our marriage lasted longer than 4 months.) Many things are working against our expectations. I say our expectations because we all know…that what we expect is often NOT what we find. So we are adjusting our expectations to fit them into what we have found here.

Upon leaving we thought that Paul would have no problem adjusting since a hospital and an OR is where he is accustomed to working. We thought the challenges would be more for me, a new way of cooking, a new way of raising a baby, no car to jump into and run to the nearest Target. But I have adjusted better than I thought and we quickly realized the hospital was different than hospitals we are used to

Each day we look for glimpses of hope and confirmation.

For me, I love the time I have with Hannah and Etagainu who helps in our home and with Nathan. I love the time of fellowship with the other missionaries. And I am looking forward to starting in a Bible Study with some of the local ladies who are in the area. And I love having Paul home every night and with only a 5 minute walking commute.

Paul sees hope in the residents. They clearly love the Lord. They are so thankful to have Paul as a leader, especially after being without an official general surgeon to commit to them. The residents have often told me how glad they are that we are here and that they know that it is a big challenge to move across the world, but they are thankful that we decided to come.

We see hope and confirmation in our marriage. We are closer now than ever. We have been best friends for a little over 5 years now, but because of the challenges we have faced together we have moved each other up a notch.

We are closer with the Lord. We are depending on Him more truly than we ever have before. Of course we have always been completely dependent on Him, but sometimes we don’t acknowledge the fact that every breath, every penny, every good thing comes from Him. We are after all His creation and everything belongs to Him. We are each sinners, some of us grasping by faith to the forgiveness given powerfully by the blood of the Son of God. God is a sovereign God and even in His own completeness or self-sufficiency He did not leave any of us alone.

Most of us have had times of darkness. Times when we wonder where God is in this whole thing. After several times of going through darkness myself, I learned to close my eyes, pray, and eventually when I opened my eyes I would notice glimpses of light. I learned through my God-given faith that He was still there.

A week ago, in a time of “darkness”, I emailed a friend who had been here in Soddo when we first got here. To encourage me, she quoted from “Streams in the Desert” it reminded me that someone prior to us had left this book on our book shelf. I have been reading this book ever since and this is the book I think everyone should have on their shelf. I want to leave a poem from a few days ago, that I have been reading every day since. It describes how Paul and I are feeling and the hope that we find in our Heavenly Creator.

“All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired from the lack of light from the sun, moon, and stars. The gloomy darkness loomed above us as it if would last forever. And from the dark, there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed even a wild clap of thunder, if only to break the torturing stillness of that mournfully depressing night.

Yet Your soft whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across a wind harp. It was Your “gentle whisper” that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard You, and then we looked and saw Your face, which was radiant with the light of Your love. And when we heard Your voice and saw Your face, new life returned to us, just as life returns to withered blossoms that drink the summer rain.”
~Streams of the Desert, November 24th

So know that each day we wake up to be encouraged again and find the strength from the Lord in our weaknesses and our longing for what was known and comfortable. Each day new life returns and we are reminded of God’s sovereignty and grace we are unworthy of. Each day we drink the summer rain as the cool mountain breeze surrounds us. And each day we are reminded of God’s love through each of you who pray for us and encourage us.