I felt like I was in a dream. I had to go to the store at that exact time in order to run into this group of people at that exact moment! And what are the odds that they were hosting a moms’ retreat, and that both my older kids adamantly did not want to go to the store that day? My oldest joked that his laziness was obviously God’s will that day… ha! I knew I had to go.
All my thoughts culminated in me screaming at God, “Why do you let this happen? Especially to those who love you! Do you even exist? If you do, YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!” Then I heard it. The whisper of the Lord. And he said, “I did do something…I sent YOU!” Even as I write those words, my heart stirs in a way that it never did before, in all my years of missions. I prayed for God to comfort these people, to help them move forward after tragedy, to have food to eat, that they will not feel alone, that their needs can be met.
I walked into that confession as the hemorrhaging woman, frustrated and discouraged. I still often feel like the hemorrhaging woman. I am beaten down by the burdens of this year and am waiting and reaching out for Christ to walk by. But, I also know that Christ used that encounter with Fr. Gabriel to continue to heal me, encourage me and bring me life. That encounter gave me the hope I needed to believe that Christ can heal, is healing, and will heal me.
Yes, our passports are itching to be stamped—they haven’t been opened for over a year now! I dream of being on one of the hundreds of flights that pass over my head every day, or of going out and finding a local homeless person just to be able to say I talked to a stranger. But this is my personal sacrifice, one that the Lord has placed on me.
If I were to be honest, I would have to admit that sometimes it is very hard to walk, as Simon of Cyrene did, carrying someone else’s burden so that they can move forward. He did not even want to help! I admit I have felt that too! However, in the end I know that this cross is the path to salvation, and not just for me, but others as well.
Madanm Silfiz was in the worst situation of anyone we have taken in. We found her living in a hut in the jungle alone. She laid in her bed all day due to being blind, not being able to walk, and having no wheelchair or crutches to help her. There was a nearby family that would check on her, give her food occasionally, and sometimes bathe her, but this family didn’t have much patience or love for Madanm Silfiz.
As a mother guiding my children as missionaries, I want to help my children claim ministries of their own. We were called as a family into missions, but not every member of my family feels passionate, excited, or gifted to be in foreign missions. For example, we get a lot of knocks at our door; the extroverts excitedly answer, while the introverts are more hesitant.
Here, more than a single soul has been reached for less than every possible suffering! For the low, low price of $48,583.53 and a dozen years of school and work and sacrifice, the KINGDOM OF GOD IS IN PROGRESS. Through just ONE part of the job the Lord gave me—sometimes done poorly, even complaining-ly, often winging it, and very often realizing how the Lord played a long game in preparing me for the position—I contributed to the building of the Kingdom of God. I participated in the Great Commission.
Then it struck me: these little piglets, cute as they were, had been bred for slaughter. And, like them, the adorable Child whose birth we were preparing to celebrate would ultimately be slaughtered. He was born into privation, and within days His life was at risk and He and His family were refugees.