2Corinthians 8:10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
The theme of verse seemed to become a "buzz phrase" a while ago, but it still is so true! Are you "forward a year ago"?
This was so very clear to me yesterday as it was the one year anniversary of two very big things in my life.
One, was the day we (4 of my family) left for Zambia. November 16, 2006. The purpose of the trip was a return visit for my husband to see the mission field he feels called to. A survey trip is what some call it, we chose to say "vacation" because it sounds so much more rich... and we aren't! We also took our oldest two children to whet their appetite for Zambia. By the time we are actually ready to start our first term on the field, they will be "old enough" to decide to come with us or not. We want to do all we can to ensure their choice will be "to come"... at least for a year or two! It seems so long ago, and yet only yesterday at the same time! I know we are hard to spot in the picture! ;) This is of a church in Chipata, a town in the Eastern Province of Zambia.
That was an amazing trip. Our children both want to go back, and for that we are thankful and blessed. To God be the Glory!
Are we forward from then, though?
As I look over even the mission monday posts here, I know yes, we are. God is so amazing in His ways, we are only glad to be a part of them. As I read in I Corinthians 14, "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. " I realize our significance is only because of Christ! Let us be bold in His work, for His glory, and purpose!
The second event was, on November 16, 2006 my close friend's 1-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Lukemia. The irony of all of it was two weeks before we left she said to me (jokingly!)..."Jan, what am I going to do without my friend for three weeks!!!" I found out at the Rochester Airport (before we even left home!) about little Angela being in the hospital. I couldn't call her to tell her we had heard and would be praying. I couldn't sit in the hospital with her 24-7 while her daughter's little body was pumped with chemo. I couldn't pray with her, cry with her, help her other 4 children at home with dinner, laundry, school. The Lord was teaching us both some things! I might have tried to be "God" for her, and she wouldn't have had the sweet care of her Heavenly Father the way she did. She might have tried to ask the unanswerable things to me, instead of Jesus, and I might have never known feeling of powerlessness that is only overcome by fervent prayer. I am so used to being like"Martha", and God forced me to be like "Mary". All of these were lessons well learned!
Yesterday, the one year anniversary, I was privileged to sit with Tonya for a few hours at the hospital while Ange had a lumbar puncture to draw out spinal fluid. Chemo doesn't cross into the spine, and needs to be injected directly. The fluid will be tested for any stray cancer cells-so we all pray with them for a negative. While she is in remission, the treatment will continue for another year. Med's, chemo, procedures, lumbar's- all the crazy things that are part of their every day normal now. They have learned a new vocabulary through all of this!
The question though... are they forward a year ago?
Yes, and again AMEN! yes! Angela is in remission, Thank You, Jesus! Their marriage had been tried, tested, and strengthened from the refining fire. Their finances have been strained, and God has miraculously supplied. They have been such a witness and a testimony to anyone who has seen them. Tonya gladly rests in the Lord's provision for her, spiritually, physically, and most of all emotionally. I have seen her become a pillar of strength because she rests in and on the Lord. She has no shame in telling anyone of her hope in the Lord, and I have learned so much from her.
It is good to look back and see from where we have come. It is even better to recognize Who has brought us here!