…..and now the rest of the story…
We left our little inn in Accra and headed for Manso-Amenfi about 8 hours inland. In the crowded little bus with some seats made from wooden slats, we crowded in and ventured forth into parts unknown to us Brunies (broonies) (that’s what we were called because we are white)… so here we go, a bus full of Brunies along with our beloved host pastor and Mary, one of our interpreters. Since it was the rainy season, rain would come down suddenly and the steam would make the non-air conditioned bus like a sauna & we would all be dripping – what a ride we had with all the sweat & laughter. How could such an uncomfortable, close-quartered ride in a rainstorm be joyous? We were about to find out. We didn’t know the driver who never said a word to anyone – Pastor said he was a Muslim. As he drove cautiously in the rainstorm on a mud road, we passed by large log trucks stuck in ditches next to the hills along the way – even they couldn’t get back on the road. As we drove around one, our bus went headlong into the ditch. There we were stuck in the mud in the rainforest with a Muslim driver who didn’t like our laughter nor our gospel songs. The driver got out and looked at the wheels and told Pastor there was no way we could maneuver our way out, even with pushing. So what did we do? We prayed & everyone started moving back & forth in the seats and just prayed “Jesus” over & over.
I KNOW angels are NOT little, feminine, wimpy, fairy-like creatures because one of them had to have miraculously picked up the back end of the bus & slide us right back onto the road – that is the only explanation possible. We felt the bus move right back onto the road & no one was outside it. It was such an awe-inspiring testimony to the Muslim driver, he gave his heart to Jesus right there. Someone had a video camera & we have it on record – our first convert in Ghana was our Muslim driver who said he wanted to serve an awesome powerful God who listened and answered prayers. Sometimes all it takes is a Christian doing what comes naturally to a Christian & praying our way out of a muddy mess & letting others see the loving, powerful Savior who can & will do amazing miracles.
I love Him.
Watching TBN a few minutes ago – Restoring The Shack – brought back a vivid memory of my visit to a Catholic mass. Today’s Shack program was an eye-opener. A Protestant was visiting with her Catholic friend and went to mass in a huge palatial Catholic Church. The priest delivered a message and then came time for the Holy Eucharist Communion. The ladies got up to get in line – but the Catholic lady had the Protestant lady go back to her seat with the words -“This is only for Catholics”. The lady went back to her seat alone feeling very conspicuous. The priest went immediately to the lady who was told to sit down & gave her communion with the words, Christ died for all not just Catholics…
When I was a child around 9-10, I visited St. Francis DeSales Church in my hometown with a friend. Upon entering those massive, ornate doors I was pulled aside by a very old bossy lady in teeny, tiny spectacles looking frantic. “Hurry hurry – put on this robe and get in line!” I had no time to respond before I was fully clad in a bright red, long skirt – and white over-garment. Given the old lady’s demeanor, I dared not refuse. I was very shy and quiet as a child. In the meantime, my friend had gone in and sat down waiting for me. Then came time for the grand processional into what can only be described as a Gothic Castle – I was near the back of the line and petrified trying to look for my friend. I finally spied the back of her curly head as she turned and saw me in the processional- Wide-eyed and red-faced is only a minuscule description of her reaction. I never visited church with her again.
On the long ride home as my sister maneuvered through heavy Memphis traffic, I was happy to be in the back seat and simply think about everything that had transpired during our mission.
Our one day trip to pick up our Ghana sister, Constance, had resulted in a 2-day wait at the airport due to mechanical and weather delays. After HOURS of waiting in the airport on the first day, her flight was grounded in Chicago. We found a nice hotel and spent the night – not a bad thing – we did some shopppppping the next morning. We drove to the airport and AGAIN – the flight was postponed and arrival time was changed every few minutes due to severe weather. We waited, had lunch, waited, watched people and waited. During the long wait, I observed people. You can learn a lot about the human psyche as each postponement or delay in flights came up on the board.
I saw the young man as he approached the waiting area and immediately recognized him as an observant Hasidic Jewish man. I would guess him to be maybe 30 years old at the most. He kept to himself and used his phone often and checked the flight board like the rest of us. He pulled his luggage and walked near us and my sister excitedly said, “Look, a Jew! We’re supposed to bless Jews.” In my effort to calm her down, I said quietly, “I know, I saw him earlier.” My sister is much friendlier than I and more approachable. Long story short, she struck up a chat with him and we learned he was waiting for his flight to New York. My sister can get information out of a clam – not because she is nosey – she isn’t – she just cares about EVERYBODY and most people with problems spill their guts to her! We learned about his beautiful wife and three children and he was anxious to get home to them.
Eventually, all flights were canceled. There we were – day two in the same clothes – snowing like crazy, no hotel reservations, and an airport full of people trying to book rooms at the closest inn. There were no rooms at the inns. My sister turned to the young man and said we would take him to a hotel and not to take a taxi. He was quite taken aback and insisted he would not wish to inconvenience us. My sister insisted, he relented and climbed into the big black truck with two old Gentile Christian sisters. I imagine he was praying the entire trip to the hotel a few miles away in Germantown – my sister gave guided tour information as we passed by three ENORMOUS white, brightly-lit crosses at one of the local churches. I learned some new things as we discussed Netanyahu and current events. Very intelligent young man.
We rode back to the airport next morning said our goodbyes. My sister took a photo of our new friend and I & they exchanged names and addresses. Up to that point, we didn’t know each other’s names! But that’s irrelevant.
Sister Constance survived her ordeal, arrived in Memphis and we got back into the big, black truck and headed home. After it was all over, it was as if God was telling me, “I wanted to show you something! I am sovereign and I will use My obedient servants no matter where they are.” The young man from Brooklyn was on two sisters unknown agenda for that day and we made a new friend. We just didn’t know there was a mission added to our mission. Possibly, we were on his mission. I do not think this story is over & know this was not just a “chance meeting”. In Ghana, when you visit someone, upon arriving at the home, the tradition is for the host to ask, “What is your mission?” The primary mission, or what we thought was our primary mission, was to pick up our sister, plan a nice lunch and drive home.
I like God’s plan better.
While on an overseas flight to Israel, I found myself separated from the rest of our group due to an error in booking. While everyone else was enjoying the flight sitting together I was stuck near the front of the plane in the last seat of a row of 6, center aisle. Behind the seats was a room that the flight attendant used a key to go into.
Don’t mind telling you I was feeling sorry for myself as I heard the laughter of my group further back in the plane. While I was having my little pity party, a very tall, distinguished looking older gentleman came and sat at the other end of the row. I thought this is just great….now I’ll have to leave my shoes on and sit up straight all the way over the ocean! I could tell he wasn’t too pleased with the arrangement either. I wondered why the rest of the seats weren’t filled in the section & the rest of the plane was full.
Settling in with my book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which I had read once already, I noticed the man looking at me – he seemed to be puzzled. Finally, he asked me if was in the right seat. I said yes. He asked me to look at my boarding pass, so I did & it confirmed I was in the right seat. He introduced himself and asked me where I was going. I told him and he explained that he was on his way to Moscow. This interested me & I asked him if he was on business or had relatives there. He told me he was an envoy to Russia & traveled this flight weekly. He told me that “This whole row of seats is expressly reserved for me – standing reservation by the government. In fact, I keep a change of clothes here in the room behind us at all times. That’s why I don’t understand how you were given that seat because I usually am able to lie down since the row is always empty.”
I apologized & said I didn’t understand why they separated me from my group, who were obviously having a very good time in the back! So, we came to a friendly agreement to make the best of the situation. He asked me what I was reading & I explained to him it was a book about prophecy & the end times. He listened closely as I told him the events that were to unfold – which probably included Russia. I was able to witness to him as he asked pointed questions. We had a very intelligent conversation & we both agreed I could keep the seat. I never saw the gentleman again, but he has the book.
Jesus – I love Him & sometimes His travel arrangements may seem strange, but I don’t question, I just go.
What’s on MY mind?
The times in which we are living. It doesn’t take a Doctorate Degree in anything to understand these days are troubling and crazy. The enemy of our soul would have us all hate one another & take offense at any and everything. Intelligent conversation has been replaced by “I am offended” diatribes by some with the proverbial “chip on their shoulder”. Sad. Afraid of offending this one, that one, or anyone causes division.
Here it is. This is me. I love people. I love dogs, cats, orangutans, baby goats, parakeets, and I have rescued a writhing earthworm on a hot sidewalk and placed him back into a shady patch of grass. That’s me. Offenses will come to ALL from all sides. Without the love of God we would all destroy each other because of “offenses”. All of us matter to God. ALL of us. I have been to the hot. putrid dumps of Mexico City where orphaned children live surviving on garbage that was a breeding ground for flies. Their wardrobe was discarded smelly clothing. I have washed their dirty little feet and placed brand new clean socks & shoes on them. Bragging??? A thousand times No. It did not matter their color, breeding, odor, or intellect.
I have been guarding my speech of late due to the cataclysmic gulf between races – all races. Beloved that should not be. Please don’t be so offended – any of us – Beloved, did He not say “offenses will come”? Do not let the enemy of your soul divide and conquer us! I have been to the hot, steamy rain forest in West Africa and held the sweating, feverish babies close to me. This white woman climbed a high hill in Ghana to deliver the Word of The Lord on a certain day to a certain small congregation of believers. First white person to ever go there.
Love MUST overtake hateful prejudice. Do not tell me I am racist because I am a different color from you. There is enough on all sides to cause more division.
Here’s the crux of the entire thing. We have a common enemy – his strategy has always been to “divide & conquer”- read your Bible – his aim is to divide, kill & destroy.
I refuse to hate. I refuse to give in to an enemy that hates me.
I choose to love you.
Have you ever needed help in a hurry? Some of us have prayed that “RIGHT NOW, LORD” emergency prayer. At the time we don’t care how it’s wrapped – we just need that on-time help from an On-Time God. How people get through life without acknowledging the existence of a loving Creator is beyond me.
I read where a lady named Sophia had rushed into the pharmacy to pick up medicine for her sick daughter. When she got back to her car, she found she had locked the keys inside. Seeing an old, rusty coat hanger on the ground, she thought, “I’ve heard this works to open locked cars but I don’t know how to use it!”
She bowed her head and prayed a “Right Now “HELP!” prayer. Within minutes, an old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man wearing an old biker skullcap. He got off his bike and asked if he could help.
Sophie pleaded: “Yes ! My daughter is very sick and I have locked my keys in the car. I need to get home with her medicine. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock it?”
“Sure,” he said. He walked over to the car, and in a few seconds the car was open. The frantic mom hugged the man and cried, “Thank you SO much! You are a very nice man.”
The biker drew back and replied, “Lady, I am NOT a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday. I was in for car theft.
Sophie hugged him again, and looked up to Heaven. “Oh, thank you God ! You sent me a professional!”
Clickety clack, clickety clack – that’s usually the sound of the shopping cart I select every time I shop. Don’t know why I always get that one cart that wobbles and clicks with every rotation of the bumpy wheels. It is a very irritating and distracting noise and people look at you funny when you continue to utilize the thing rather than selecting another. If there’s a crowd behind you waiting for a cart, you tend to seize the first one and get on with your foray into the wonderful world of Wal-Mart. Generally, I try each cart until I find a nice, quiet one, wipe off the handles with the anti-bacterial sheets provided and begin my adventure.
A few days ago I found myself at the usual “get a quiet cart” frame of mind as I entered the hallowed halls of Wal-Mart. Barring the cart line was a small number of residents from the local group home – I love those people and make it a point to speak to them. One gentleman pulled out a cart for me and smiled, “I will pull out your cart – here lady I got your cart for you!” I smiled and thanked him and began my journey. Not only did the cart sound clickety clack so that people stared – it made a clickety, CLANG, clack clack. Loudest cart I ever did hear in my life – it should have been retired. And – not only that – it was rolling crooked at a slight angle. About ten feet away from the generous, kind little gentleman, I decided to return the cart and get another. However, an afterthought came through loud and clear!
“No. keep the cart. If the man sees you he will be hurt that you returned it.”
I argued with myself and said to me, “Well, surely he will understand.”
I replied to me, “No he won’t. Keep this cart. He will consider it a rebuke. Keep the cart.” I kept the cart.
clickety, CLANG, clack clack
With every amused stare from the general public, I stood up straight and tall, held my head high and smiled sweetly knowing a sweet little guy from the group home felt good about giving his shopping cart away. I also sensed a little nudge of ENcouragement from the Lord that gave enough courage to endure the remainder of my loud, clickety, CLANG, clack, clack, sidewinder cart adventure. Jesus probably had a little laugh about this one.
When I was a kid, I would take a salt shaker to the garden and pick the reddest tomato I could find, stand in the tomato patch and eat the first fruit of the season. Helping Daddy plant, weed, and water the garden every summer was not work to us. To me, the work came after the harvest with all the cutting, chopping, boiling jars & lids, and being confined to the kitchen. Listening for all those lids to pop as the jars cooled meant good eating when winter came. Planting meant getting our hands dirty, but anticipating the harvest kept us working!
As we continue to plant the Word of God, till the ground where it was planted, and weed out things that choke spiritual growth, we anticipate the greatest Harvest of all ! I can hear those lids popping now.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! – Revelation 22:20 NKJV
I decided years ago to do something that demonstrates faith- for faith with no effort is no faith at all for me.
The Creator’s love compels us to do what we never thought we could do, and accomplish what we never dreamed of doing. He has taken me to places I never thought I would go and meet people I never dreamed I would meet.
I have humbly found myself seated me at the same table with professors, doctors and scientists & dined at the table of a humble family in the rainforest of Africa.
He has taken me through danger in foreign countries and seen me through trials in the wear & tear of everyday living.
If you think being a Christian is boring, you should sit & listen to a few of the “seasoned Believers” . I have lived an incredible life and not one day with HIM has been boring. I am so thankful for His mercy and grace bestowed upon me – for I am not perfect. On the quiet days & years, I take the time to rest up & prepare for the next adventure.
Life is never boring when you’re walking with a King.
Sometimes we are plagued with “If only”…If only I hadn’t done that…If only I hadn’t said that….If only I hadn’t eaten that much…If only they would behave..If only I had more money…and the list goes on & on. Contentment IS a difficult virtue. Why? We think if we get what we want, when we want & how we want, we will be content. Some of the most unhappy people I know are blessed with abundance but still not satisfied. When we are children, we say, “If only I were older…” As an adult, “If only I were married” Then…when we finally are older, we go back to “If only I were younger” That “If only” list never seems to end.
We are not satisfied. In each human there seems to be a missing piece of the puzzle – that is the God-shaped part – the one & only Jesus part that will fit & complete each of us. Nothing nor anyone else on earth can fit and satisfy that part of us.
We long to see God & the pages of life are turning & rustling with the rumor that we will…and we won’t be satisfied until we do. Max Lucado put it very aptly..”Father, keep us from being so blinded by possessions we cannot keep, that we fail to see the eternal treasure we cannot lose.” I HAVE to stay in touch with Him. How can I not? He’s as close as my next heartbeat.