Hong Kong - Hawaii - Australia - Washington DC -Northern Minnesota - El Paso, Texas - Ah, the life of a Missionary Kid. To some it speaks of hardship, to others romance and adventure. For me, it was normal. Why should life be different? The only thing I noticed was that, with moving so often, I didnít have any close friends. So, when we moved back to Minnesota from Texas (I was 12) I clinched onto my old friends. I also became aware of the current fashion trends. Slowly I drew away from my family as they began to practice biblical modesty and healthful diet. I became angry and bitter, often making Mama cry.
At age 14, I vowed to join the Navy when I turned 18, knowing Iíd most likely have to run away to do so. Meanwhile, to "get back" at my parents I began to secretly disobey them. Suddenly I was in the throes of full-fledged rebellion. I began listening to secular Country music, which influenced me to drop the Navy and start dreaming of freedom from all authority. I became addicted to "my" music, going into depression if I didnít listen often enough. Since I still didnít want my parents to know, I became an expert at hiding it.
With all of that, I still was not happy. All my childhood training held back from being angry at authority. My first passion was cowboys, the second my country - America. I was saddened at the flagrant wickedness around me, though it never occurred to me that I was headed the same direction. That is, until one night just before Christmas when I was 16. It was one oíclock in the morning, and I had just finished the book "From Sea to Shining Sea"" by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Suddenly it dawned on me that if I continued living as I was, America would continue her downward slide into bondage. I realized what my beloved country needed was revival, and revival had to start with the individual - me first. I began to weep (the first time for years - I prided myself on being stoic) and pray. Revival started! My addiction to Country music became an addiction to hymns and spiritual songs. I began to pray for the singers who I knew so well from their music. My dresses were now worn modestly. My attitude changed 180 degrees!
Since then, Godís been working on me. Though cowboys still figure in my thinking as my favorite subject to write about, I am making sure whatever I do is God-honoring and parent pleasing. I believe God is calling me to work with orphans, street kids, and unwed mothers through a family setting on an old-fashioned farm. I am working toward that goal with prayer, and meanwhile working on my character. Iíve come a long ways - but I have much more to traverse before I cross the Great Divide in the evening of life.
"Whereís ours?" My husband looked at me with those sad eyes. "When will it be our turn?" Friends of ours, with a newborn, had just left our living room. I donít remember what my answer was to these recurring questions, but I remember how empty I felt.
When I was growing up, I entertained thoughts of being a mommy. I was one of six children, and it seemed the natural thing to have a household full of children. I often doted on my twin brothers, seven years younger, and played school with my younger sister. The most exciting thing in the world to me would be to have one of my own.
Years passed and a wonderful man came into my life and we married. I had become a registered nurse, and for our first few years together, I enjoyed my new roles as wife and helper to the sick, but I knew we were missing something.
About our sixth year into marriage I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant. I started writing a journal to the little one Iíd never see or hold, as he was lost to us in his 11th week. Not long afterward, this same scenario occurred again. My heart ached and I sobbed out with empty arms. I wondered if I might ever be able to have a child. My prayers never ceased, and resembled those that Hannah must have prayed. I took comfort that it was possible to conceive again. I relied on Godís love and His plans for us. In our eighth year, I was with child again. At exactly the fourth month, I felt the first fluttering movements stirring within me. I was sitting in a meeting at my job at the time, and I wanted to jump up and shout. I hid my secret (with a huge smile on my face) till the meeting was over. I knew my baby was alive - a most precious gift!
Josiah was born at home in the heat of Floridaís July. Words cannot describe how we felt to be parents of our darling baby. I love to look at the picture of my husbandís face holding his firstborn son, with tears streaming down his cheeks, and remembering the first prayer of thanksgiving that he offered up for him. Fourteen years have passed, and when standing, my babyís eyes now look directly into my own. He has three younger brothers, all miracles to me. Iíve learned to trust God in all things in my life. I can see that His timing was perfect.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 139, and I read it often. ..."I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."...
We are blessed, indeed.
by Megan H., age 14
Dedicated to her oldest sister, Elissa, for her graduation
The future lays before you,
Will you run the race to win,
Will you cling to Him in trouble,
The future lays before you,
"Maa! Maa!" I rolled over and tried to shut out the weak bleat. But it persisted and I suddenly realized that it wasnít my imagination, it was a real lamb. But what in the world was a lamb doing in our bedroom this time of night? Rubbing my eyes I rolled over again. 2:15 AM. Just then my older sister, Elissa, climbed out of bed, and walked over to the corner of our bedroom. "Shhh.. itís all right," she murmured, picking up the lamb from a box in the corner.
"Is it really a lamb?" I asked, still half asleep. "Howíd it get in here?"
"She was born last night," Elissa replied. "She was really cold so we brought her in. She must be hungry so I have to go feed her." So saying, she headed downstairs and I went back to sleep.
In the morning I formally met the tiny, brown-faced lamb, and she immediately found a place in our hearts. We named her Angel and began to make plans as to who got her and where she would stay when she got old enough. But God, however, had other plans. That afternoon our skinny, cute little darling fell sick and, though we struggled to keep her alive, she was gone by nightfall.
Questions crowded in my head while the tears slipped down my cheeks. Why did she have to get sick? Why didnít God answer our prayers and heal her? Why did she have to die? I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next morning as I took care of our 60+ chickens, I thought of the little life that had come and gone so quickly. But instead of the previous days bitter questions, God placed in my heart a song. It swelled from my heart and filled the air with the wonderful old hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not. As Thou hast been, Tho forever wilt be."
In that short period of time, God had done His work in my heart. He taught me that, come what may, He will always be there to comfort, love, restore, and strengthen us. There will be times of pain, sorrow, hurt, death and broken hearts in this life. But by His grace and love we can be overcomers.
He giveth more grace as the burdens grow greater,
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
His love has no limit: His grace has no measure,
As Y2K loomed in the future and we were surrounded by rumors of what may happen, I found myself becoming increasingly worried about what the future might hold. As we all know now, God chose to spare us from what could have happened and blessed us with another year to live for His glory. However, I, of course, did not know at the time how things would fare, but He, in His infinite wisdom knew it all and encouraged me with the testimony of Darlene Rose, missionary to Papua New Guinea.
One of my favorite stories took place during World War 2. The Japanese invaded Indonesia (where her and her first husband, Russell Diebler, were currently living) and took all Americans prisoners. She was lying in a prison cell, dysentery and malaria racking her starved body, when she experienced Godís faithfulness toward His children in its fullness. Wishing for some fresh air in the dank prison cell, she managed to pull herself up to the window. What she saw made her mouth water. One of the other prisoners had snuck over to the fence, where someone from the outside handed her a bunch of bananas. Oh how Darlene wanted just one banana! She slid down from her perch and dropped to her knees. She begged God for just one banana, then set back and began to figure out how God would get her that banana.
There were only four possibilities: The two guards who hated her, the man who interrogated her (surely none of them would ever get her a banana) and an elderly Indonesian night guard who would get shot on the spot if discovered getting a banana to her. "Well Lord," she finally concluded, "I guess Iíll just have to survive without a banana." However it wasnít too long before she heard footsteps outside. It was with great fear she heard them, for just recently she had been sentenced to be beheaded, and now awaited the execution day.
The door opened and there stood the commander from a prison camp she had stayed at. He told her that the prison officials had come, informing him that she was dying of T.B. (not wanting him to know she was really being beheaded). "Now is there any message you want me to give the prisoners back at camp? Theyíre all asking about you."
"Yes" Darlene replied, "I know theyíll understand, and I think you will too, that I am all right. I am all right because I am still trusting in Jesus."
With tears in his eyes the commander turned to the two guards and began speaking to them in a low voice. Darlene was sure she knew what he was saying. He was telling the guards the salvation story that she had shared with him when he had informed her of her husbandís death several months ago.
After a little while he said good-bye and left. It was only then that Darlene realized that she had not bowed to the guards. "Oh God!" she cried - "Why didnít You help me remember? Now theyíll come back and interrogate me again and... oh God!" she sobbed in despair. "I canít go through that again!"
Soon she heard footsteps again and she got up, dried her tears and waited. The guard came in and dumped them all on the floor. Do you know what they were? Bananas! A gift from the camp commander. She pushed them all into a corner after counting them and nearly burst into tears. God had provided 92 bananas!
God went further and rescued her from prison and the death sentence (when all the bananas had been eaten) and got her safely back to America and her parents. She went back and served God as a missionary once more, not because she was physically able, but because she knew, that in all its fullness, God leadeth His children, though sometimes through fire, and remains faithful to His children.
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"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10