Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I have been in the United States for 56 days. I have been in four time zones, spoken in a formal setting 26 times, taken a course in Seattle (which I am still working on and have classes to attend), spoken numerous times, informally, driven all over the state of Pennsylvania and flown to others, slept in many more beds than I actually want to count. And I am tired, very tired.
My schedule has lightened up a bit. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I actually will be sleeping in the same bed five days in a row this week. But, I have to admit it. I am HOMESICK. I am homesick for my home in Lawra. I want my slower life, with the dirt and bugs and unstable electricity. I want to be among "my kids" with their dirty hands, big smiles and bare bottomed babies. I want to be with Akos as she prepares to attend Senior Secondary School. I want to be the spoiled American who takes that "first day of school" picture. I miss Janette and Sarah, colleagues of mine who work in the Lawra area. I miss the special needs kids. I miss my friends, Rose and Razak and Dora and Habib. I miss not being there to welcome the new pastor. But, mostly, I miss home.
Home...a place to hang your hat. A place to rest, relax, renew. A place to question. A place to find answers. A place to clean. A place to study. A place to cook. A place to be with friends. A place to reflect. A place to think. A place to scream. A place to shout. A place to pray. A place of no resistance. A place of surrender. A place of sanctuary. A place of my own. Home...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Afraid to Dream...but God Knows

When I was a child, I had plenty of dreams. My biggest dreams were that someday "my prince would come" and I would be a wife and a mother. I dreamt of being a teacher, would be wonderful. But, in the reality of my life, those dreams never unfolded in the same way they did in my mind. As a result, I have often found it difficult to dream and to dream big. While at Missionary Training International in August 2010, one of the hardest and most emotional exercises for me was to dream about where I would be living when I moved to Ghana. Dreaming was hard because I had already seen where I was to live. It was a lot different than if I could have asked for a few things and actually received them. I knew the reality and harshness of life where I was going.
God had other plans. He found me a house which has become my home. It is much nicer than I would have ever imagined or hoped for. All I had to do was pay the rent. And, over the course of my time in Ghana, God has truly surprised me in many ways, fulfilling some unspoken dreams.
Now, I am in the US, speaking about the mission I am doing in Ghana raising funding, being on the road almost constantly so far. It is VERY wearing on body, mind and, at times, spirit. Yet, God has been amazing me. Read on...
I had no vehicle to drive while in the US. How would I get around? Borrow my brother's car? Use my sister's car from time to time? Try to line up some rides? Then, while speaking to a friend, she said, "I have a car you can use until January." It was a Jeep Compass with 12,500 miles on it! When I left for Ghana, I had a 17 year old Honda civic! God knew what I needed. He provided.
One of the hopes for this trip was to raise enough money to buy a motorcycle, a small one, so I could more easily travel to villages to visit my special needs kids and to work in the village of Kasalgri. Last Sunday, I was at Cornwall UMC in Cornwall, PA and mentioned this. After church a young man came up to me and asked me about the motorcycle. He told me, "Don't worry, you will have your motorcycle." WOW! It ends up that this man is not only a state policeman, but a motorcycle instructor.

Last night, I was in Alum Bank, PA. After I was done speaking, someone came up to me and asked if I had a special need. I hesitantly replied, "Well, I don't have a NEED, I have a WANT...and it is very self serving. I'd like to buy an air conditioner that can withstand the fluctuations in the electricity in the north, one that would work well." She stood there and wrote out the check. I told her what a blessing she was to me...(I had gotten to know her some over the previous 2 days)...and said I feel "funny" asking for something like a/c. She said, "Why? You're a daughter of the King. You have not because you ask not." and she laid the check in my hand.

Today, in Chambersburg, I was told I would be on the receiving end of devotional/Christian growth books that will be bought when we have an outing to the Christian bookstore, something that I don't get much of in Ghana. 
God is showing me that it IS okay for me to dream, to ask, and, there will be times that the answer may be "no" or "not now." But, there are many, many more time that He wants to lavish His love on me, one of His beloved children!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Action or Reaction?

A few weeks ago,my sister and I were visiting my friend, Tula in Meadows of Dan, West Virginia. It was truly a relaxing time, but a time too short. The morning we left her mountain top cabin, it was foggy. As we went down the mountain, the fog thinned out more and more, making it much easier to see while driving. We thought we were making good time for the beginning of the trip.
Then, it happened...traffic was backed up. Ugh! we wanted to make it all the way to my house in the one day. I really thought we were cutting it close already, leaving a little earlier than originally planned. We really didn't need a delay. What was it? Was it road construction? Animals? A broken down car? An accident? Traffic wasn't even crawling. we were at a dead stop. People were turning around. But, not knowing the area and not having a GPS, we were kinda stuck where we were at.
So we talked. We wondered out loud what was going on. I was getting impatient, after all, we had "stuff to do" that day. Finally, traffic started moving slowly past the trees, past other parked cars, past emergency vehicles, pasted a very badly crunched car, past a person strapped onto a stretcher and being taken to an ambulance, past people directing traffic...
And I prayed. I prayed for the people involved in the accident, that God would give them peace and healing. And, I prayed for the responders, that God would give them wisdom and insight. I prayed for the families, that God would comfort them. ..
And I prayed for myself, that God would forgive me for my reaction, for my judgement, even if it was only in my mind or shared with my sister. Tears were fighting to crawl down my face. Here, I was complaining about a few minutes (in the big picture), something that would be to my advantage, and this person, these families had a major negative impact on their lives that day. Was it their fault? Who knows? All I know is that I begged forgiveness and thanked God for health, family, friends, a safe drive home, for His protection, etc.
Anyone can act like a Christian. Anyone can go through the motions of prayer. Anyone can go through the motions of worship. Anyone can look like they are a "fine, upstanding Christian." But, in a moment of reaction, how do you respond? Whose character do people see? Is it the character of the world? Or is it a Godly character? In a split second people can see who you really are inside. I want people to see Jesus.

Lord, forgive me for my quick, human reactions. Help me to develop so in a split second reaction, people see you and not my faults and failures. I want YOU to be seen and glorified. Amen.