Out of Africa and Back Again.

 I never get used to this sight of a young girl child with 
a baby on her back and a water bucket on her head.
 One of the many buildings we have worshiped in.
A Baptism (the main reason I go)

My heart has been stubborn about being willing  to go to Africa in the summer of 2014. The trip has been planned for three years now but my heart has been hard and has said,”NO, I will not go in 2014.” 
One night as we laid down, I asked my husband if he had thought about going to Africa in 2014.  I fully expected him to say no I do not want to go because I am getting my shoulder replaced.  Instead he said, “I have thought about it.” That really shocked me. He asked me if I had thought about going.  I said, Yes I have thought about it and I do not want to go. You can go without me. He said, “I will not go without you.” So, I said, “Does that mean I have to go?” One reason it shocked me so much is that when he went in 2003 he promised he would never go without me again. I knew that he had made that promise and that he would not break it.  If he goes, that means I will go or he will stay home too.
When he went in 2003 I was as resistant as a spoiled brat child who wanted her way no matter what.  He was asked to go with a group of men so there was no way one lone woman would fit in.  As plans were being made I dug my heels in deep. 
I pouted, cried, got mad, you name it I resisted with all my might. 
Like that spoiled child I said, “I have always wanted to go to Africa.” 
On and On I went as the days and weeks ticked off to the dead line to buy tickets. 
The Sunday before the deadline the lesson at worship was one that was undeniably from God to me.  It also spoke to both of our hearts in a way that we could no longer ignore what had to be done. 
We did not say a word all the way home as our hearts burned like hot coals inside our chests. I almost chocked on my pride and selfishness.
After we had changed from  our “church” clothes into more comfortable clothes, he said to me, “Shelia, I cannot, not go.” My heart burned in my throat. I felt so much shame as I admitted that I was standing in God’s way. I choked the words out of my burning throat, “I know you have to go.”  This had been my thought on the way home as I tried to swallow my pride and selfishness.  I was so ashamed of myself at the realization that I, by my childish behavior, had to admit that I was rebelling against God and not my husband.
We both knew that I could not stand in God’s way any longer. 
We knew that he had to go and do whatever God wanted him to do. I knew that I had to do whatever God wanted me to do and accept what he wanted to teach me.
I do not know why my heart has been stubborn against going to Zambia this summer. I cannot put a finger on the reason. I can only speculate.  This has been a challenging year for us with our adult son who has dealt with a drug addiction for many, many years. This has been and still is a challenging time with my mother-in-law being sick and in and out of the hospital for the last two months. 
On one hand I am so excited to be going back to Africa again, for the fifth time. On the other hand I am feeling a little stressed to think that the trip is so close to being reality. 
I only asked to go one time. I know that if God is truly willing for us to go He will provide the way for my fifth trip to Zambia. Tickets are bought and plans are being made to go in a short time. 
We shall see what the future holds. I am now willing and ready if God is. 
We recently attended the funeral of a 90 year old lady who got into mission work when she was 65 years old. Her grandson read some of from one of her diaries she had kept about her mission work. He said Granny said, “You have to be willing to write a blank check and hand it to God. Let God fill in the amount. You have to be willing to do whatever God wants you to do.” 
Just write the blank check has become mine and my husbands motto. 
We have written a blank check to God about the trip to Zambia in 2104. We will soon know what He requires us to do. We just have to be willing to do it.
Philippians 4:4-9  
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

  

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