Monday, September 25, 2017

Having Courage to Face the Trials

Today at church the message was titled, "Solid Gold Faith".  The speaker, Ryan Murphy, focused on 1Peter 1:6-7 which says, "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

"Suffer grief in all kinds of trails" 
Could those be trials like moving and adjusting to life in a different country far from your family?!?  I feel like the topic for today's sermon was just what I needed to hear.  As I think about how quickly my husband and my daughters adjusted to life here, I am frustrated that I'm still struggling.  We knew it would be at least a month until we were able to settle into our new home since we went to African Based Orientation for three weeks.  Once we did move into our house on campus, I started getting headaches from the mold in the bathroom.  Then Gracie got sick and all of her bedding needed to be washed.  We didn't have any extra blankets so we had to use towels to keep her warm and to clean up after her.  I'm used to her blankets being clean after a quick wash and 40 minutes in a dryer.  Well, we don't have a clothes dryer here (or a dishwasher).  The electricity is expensive so it is cheaper to dry clothes on a line.  That takes longer to dry and her bedding wasn't ready until the next night.  Since that first week, Gracie and Ruthie have both ran fevers and have been sick for multiple days.  We know their bodies are being exposed to new germs and we are filtering our water to help.
We were thankful that RVA maintenance quickly removed the mold from our bathroom, but we had to stay in a guest house for three nights while the smelly paint dried.  Without a vehicle, we had to make several trips to relocate ourselves.  Once we were back into our home, I thought things would get easier.  But then I discovered the water heater was rusted out and was leaking on our floor.  Also, school started and I was now caring for the girls on my own and training a worker.  We are thankful to have Daddy come home for lunch each day and to have a worker to help with laundry, washing dishes, and cleaning the house.  I wasn't prepared for how challenging it would be for the girls and I to adjust to having an extra adult in the house three days a week.  We think highly of our worker, but at times the culture and language can be a barrier while explaining how we want our home to look, how we want our food to be prepared, and how we want our children cared for while I am away.  
Staying home with the girls is very different here.  In the States, when I needed a break or wanted to get out of the house, I would load the girls in our van and head to the grocery store (for free bananas for the girls), Target, Grandma's house, or meet a friend at the park.  How I miss our van and the girls' car seats!  We loved singing in the car and relaxing while driving around town.
Now, we meet friends at the park, walk to the cafo to drop off our milk containers to be filled, or meet Daddy for chai.  But without a vehicle, we stay close to home.  If I do need to go shopping for produce or staples, I leave the girls with our worker, Momma Mary, and walk down the hill to the visit the vegetable ladies or shop at the Super Duka, the local convenience store.  Now that John is teaching, I try to do my shopping while he is at school.  I will admit, I often have anxiety as I prepare to walk to town and work hard to find the courage to go.  Over time, I'm sure I will become more comfortable and it helps that most of the local people speak English.  I have to laugh at some of the mistakes I have made.  I get myself talked into buying things I don't need or spending too much money because of the differences in language and culture.  One day I came home with 70 limes (they are a little bigger than a golf ball) because I didn't want to tell the sweet vegetable lady no.  They only cost $6 and I know she needs the money more than I do.  I often buy a bouquet of flowers for $3 or $4 because I know Stephen is disabled and needs to pay his bills.  I care about the local people and can see how hard they work for very little money in return.  
Today, as I sat down to write this blog, I saw that my friend Sara had sent me an email.  She shared a blog post written by Jennifer Rothschild, a Christian writer.  In her blog, Jennifer writes that confidence and courage are two different things.  Confidence is a feeling and courage is a choice.  God doesn't expect us to feel confident.  God asks us to trust Him enough to decide to have courage.  You can read more by visiting Jennifer's blog at:
I chose courage as I helped our family to raise support and pack up our house in preparation to move here.  I chose courage when I flew with two toddlers and my husband and traveled for over 25 hours.  I chose courage when I followed God's calling to be a missionary and serve at RVA.  
1Peter 1:7 says, "These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
Our faith in God is worth more than GOLD and our faith is refined by fire.  In today's message I was reminded that the trials we go through grows our faith and makes us stronger.  Our struggles also result in praise, glory, and honor for God.  
This is a season of trials for me, but I will come out stronger.  I have faith that God has plans to use my trials to help others.  I will continue to be encouraged by God's word and faithfulness and will pray that I will have courage to continue to praise God and bring Him glory and honor as I work through these trials.  
Will you pray with me?   
Along with your prayers, God has provided a few new friends here that I have been able to confide in. They are encouraging to me! I also have my sister-in-law, Shelly, who understand since she moved here three different times with young children.  I'm thankful for her advice and willingness to hold my hand during these trials.  I can't forget to mention my family and African Prayer Group who I can send prayer requests to at any hour of the day and they lift me up in prayer.  

Thank you for your support through prayers and encouraging words.  
God is good!!!
In Christ,

Our Helpers!!

John and Ruthie at Titchie Field Day.
The girls' first day of preschool. 
They love going to school for two hours, two days a week!

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