Happy New Year (a week late)! I pray that 2012 is off to a good start for all of you, and that it is already full of God’s purpose and goodness. Right now, I am reliving a memory of being a little girl sitting on a pew at my grandparent’s church. It is a Sunday night - “testimony night,” and all the grown-ups take turns standing up and saying, “Bro. Gerhart, I would like to testify…” They would talk on then, some briefly, some a LONG time. I didn’t understand half of what they said, but it was still an entertaining and intriguing experience for me. Now, I’m having a moment where I feel it is necessary to say, “I have to testify!” This is my forum, so I shall. But, don’t worry! – I’ll try to be one of the brief ones.
I simply can’t start a new year without giving credit to God for the past year. He has been so amazing! 2011 was a year of more transition than I’ve ever experienced and required more faith than I’ve ever had to muster. It stretched me and T, our kids, our marriage. We ended 2010 with our suitcases packed and ready to fly out on Dec.29 to experience Africa for the first time. We were going to start our new year with Watoto! Our church had given us a beautiful and meaningful farewell. We were flying high with excitement and anticipation … until my doctor told me I was too sick to travel. Then we crashed. Now, I realize it was just a little pothole in the road, but, at the time, I thought we had fallen off in a ditch. I do love being able to look back and see God’s purposes. We were able to travel to NC for a while and spend some significant time with Grandpa Simpson – before he died a few months later. We were able to get our house ready to sell, put it on the market, and have a buyer within three weeks. We signed a contract just days before our rescheduled departure date. (On a side note, my UC is completely in remission now and a non-issue in my daily life – Praise God!)
So, we finally started our African adventure with nothing but a big question mark in front of us. Past our 6 wks stay with Watoto, we had NO idea what the rest of 2011 would look like. We had no promise from Watoto that they would want us to come back… and no job (or house!) waiting for us if they didn’t. The only thing we had was this invisible force pushing us forward. T and I discussed several times that feeling we had of God’s Wind in our sails. It wasn’t something we could explain or prove to everyone else, but we could feel it – a full, tight tension and exhilaration of moving forward. We decided to go with His Wind, for lack of better words, and the journey seemed so effortless to us. We came home to begin raising funds to return, and there was favor and miraculous provision at every turn. How many times did we look at each other and say, “This seems too easy.” We were able to return to Uganda within 4 months and start the whole new adventure of learning to live life here.
It is hard to articulate how this past year was “easy” and “effortless,” while at the same time being incredibly challenging and testing. All I can say is that God did it, and it is ALL to His credit! He moved us and carried us. It has been a thrilling ride. My gut has clenched many times over my lack of control. Sometimes my knuckles have been white trying to grip what is familiar to me. But still, I will do it again. I do feel sorry for people who think God is boring or safe – because He so is not. I have no doubt He is good and faithful, though, and I have to testify to this.
We have so much to look forward to in 2012, but I will save that for another post.
Except, I must announce my most imminent and exciting plans! My younger sister, Labrina, is getting married on Jan. 28th, so Reynah and I get to go home for the wedding! I’m just about beside myself with excitement – though I’m trying not to exude TOO much excitement, since T and the boys don’t get to go. Reynah is going because she flies free until she is 2. Her birthday is Feb. 1, so we fly back to UG on Jan. 31. Well, she is also going because I don’t think T wants me leaving him with all 3 kids for 2 weeks. Most of my time will be spent with my family, but I will be coming to Jackson on Wed. Jan.18 and speaking at Northside Assembly that evening (for any of my Jackson friends who happen to be reading this).
I’m looking forward to hugs, hot showers, Mexican food, girl’s nights, WiFi, vacuuming (yes, I really miss my vacuum cleaner),cleaning something with Pine-Sol, and numerous other things I won’t bore you with. I am feeling so very blessed that I get to go!
Thanks SO much for getting married, Bree and Brett – you guys are the best!!!!!