These weeks I have come face to face with fear in different situations. It is causing me to think abut what this does and how I react in these times.
Before we left Canada I was confronted by the horrendous news of what is happening incountries where ISIS is slaughtering so many people. Then the news of Ebola. Realizing that the time for us to leave for Africa was soon I became aware of different levels of fear creeping through my mind and emotions. I questioned if we should be going on this trip to Africa or maybe stay back in Canada with Boss. There were many people putting words to the fears I felt.
One morning there was a wee break through in my thinking as I thought about what God had spoken to us about what He still had in Africa for us. Our friend David Freeman once said to us, “always keep speaking about the vision God has given you so it is clear..don’t loose sight of it.” I realized that fear was clouding this vision and the plans yet to be unfolded as we move forward in them. It seemed the wee breakthrough that morning was enough for me to say “yes” again to going ….coming to Africa yet again.
Even after this bit of light I seemed to encounter I got sick. Again fear of what should happen if because I was not well the airport security while nervously testing everyone for the ebola virus should pick up the sign of a fever I may still have and we would be stuck somewhere between one country or another. I realized how much fear of what could happen can shut down life in all ways. Where is it safe to live and what makes it safe?
God is always faithful and I believe that! I am not saying we should be unwise in how we live but I am saying perhaps we can trust in a God who knows all things and loves us.
When we arrived in Africa we were met by good friends who had found a wonderful place for us to stay. Other friends left baked goodies and cards. We felt so received and settled. The strong connection of loving family and friends back in Canada tied it all together for me. Then many things occurred that were of course out of my “control”.
Ray got very sick. Again fear started to creep into my mind and questions like “what if Ray dies here?” I started wondering about so many things.
For over a week this battle went on in my mind as Ray was battling sickness. Only once before had I seen him so sick. He is usually the strong healthy one. I realized I have more often found my security in him rather than God. It was a shock for me to realize how vulnerable I felt.
Soon he recovered for which we were all thankful. Then…Ray was out for a run and some guys attacked him and ripped off his watch and tried to take his wedding ring off his finger. He didn’t fight back but just protected himself and held them off as he knew if he got too aggressive they could get more violent. Finally some men on bicycles came by and the guys took off. Ray was cut up, bleeding and with a twisted ankle made his way back home badly shaken up. His ring finger was swollen so badly he couldn’t remove his ring and the cuts on his legs were pretty bad. He was to leave for the high plateau in Congo that morning and I wondered if he could do this. I also wondered if I could handle him being away for a few days not having any way to communicate with him. I wondered if I could drive in the city again with all the crazy traffic and find my way to buy any food items I needed. I wondered if I could manage without my strong capable husband. Again I saw how much I was depending on Ray. I fought fear of rebels attacking the vehicle as they travelled up the mountains. There were many dark clouds of fear trying to descend over my mind. I was so thankful for the prayers and communications from people back home and the friends here that were a support but most of all I am thankful that I found a way to press into the One who is always available, always ready to show the way through the challenges.
Ray arrived back a day later than planned due to some challenging events on the journey. Again I had no communication so when he was not back the day planned I had no way of knowing what was happening until he finally got a warbled phone call through very late the night he was to have been back into Burundi. The border crossing closes at 6pm and this was 9pm. I had those hours to wait and again deal with so many fears. The next day he did not arrive back until after lunch time. He was full of enthusiasm about the trip and all that happened. It was a dangerous but profitable time and also an encouragement to all the children and people in the area we work with in the high plateau. I could see that despite all the challenges it was a trip God had been covering and ground was taken both physically and spiritually.
It seems every day there are new opportunities to trust God and to not allow fear to take over. Yesterday another opportunity presented itself to me. I am beginning to feel like I am on a big learning curve for which I hope I learn from. Ray dropped me somewhere and was coming back to get me in a few hours. I had no phone, no phone number to reach anyone if need be. He was delayed for several more hours than we had planned. All this was out of his control. Fear started to take over in my mind again and I quietly became irrational in my thinking…imagining all manner of things that happened to him and really was in quite a state. Finally one of the people where I was had a number he called of someone who could get hold of Ray. He was on his way to get me! What a relief to know I had connected with someone who knew what was going on.
I do hope that I will “get it” one of these days…get it in knowing I have access to the One who knows what is going on and will give peace as I learn to trust Him. I think I can say I am thankful for these life lessons laid out before me. My controlling ways are not able to hold anything together and do not bring peace.
An African pastor speaking last Sunday was saying he was thankful for the governments in Africa because they cause us to have to look to God. When things around us do not work, when life is out of our control, when our rights are overlooked there is One we can go to who is always available and holds all things together.
Here are a few pictures of the people in the high plateau we work with. It was great seeing how much the children and people there were encouraged and also the encouragement they gave to the team who visited them. There is lots of good things happening up there.