One of the joys of deputation has been getting to know so many others who are also on deputation. One thing about missionaries is you never know when you will see them again. After leaving for the field the schedules of furlough and returning to the states is so varied, we often say "good-bye" acknowledging that it may be the last time we will see them this side of glory! The picture below is of us with one such family.
The are the Burtons heading to Papua, New Guinea, and we have had the joy of not just getting to know them, but for our path to have crossed a few times since then! They are from San Diego, CA, so the likelihood of us ever meeting apart from deputation was truly slim to none!
We have loved our time with them. We are "opposites"... meaning I am more like Doug, and Dan is more like Amy so we all get along GREAT! We all enjoy games and conversation and serving the Lord with passion! They are going to an area of the world that makes our field of calling seem like a first world retreat, and that they also are traveling with teen aged children really encourages my kids to know ..."They are NoT alone!"
Beth, Savannah & Abby
Below is an excerpt from a blog post of their daughter, Abby. (I hope you don't mind my reposting it here!)
"Where to start…
This weekend has been one of memories that I will not soon forget.The first and most special memory is one of dear and special importance.
We have been in La grange, Georgia this past week and have had some tornado warnings around this area. One particular Tornado warning happened on Thursday the 17th of November. My mom and Mrs. Jalowiec , Beth and I were in Cato. We heard siren’s go off in the distance and since we are from California we did not understand what was happening. One of the store employees told us that it was a siren for a tornado heading our way. They said it was about 20 minutes away. There was two employees at the store and they were both getting kind of freaked out. One of the employees decided to go outside and see if she could see any funnels forming.
As soon as she opened the door thought a bolt of lightning literally touched down within inches of the store window. We all screamed and the employee shut the door fast. Well my sister got really scared, and if you know my sister you know she does not scare easily. She kept asking my mom if we could leave but Mrs. Jalowiec had driven us and she was still shopping. None of us were strangely worried. We all had a peace about this tornado heading our way except Beth and the two employees. Mrs. Jalowiec was trying to figure out a way to be a witness to these two employees when Beth asked my mom yet again if we could leave. Mrs. Jalowiec turned and asked, “Beth If you were to die right now are you a hundred percent sure you would go to Heaven?” Mrs. Jalowiec told me later that she asked the question only for the benefit of the 2 employees. Well my Mom and Mrs. Jalowiec had some clothes they wanted to try on and by this time Beth was not leaving my mom’s side so she went with my mom. Beth ended up coming out of the fitting room by herself and almost directly afterwards the one of the employees told us that the tornado just switched directions and went right underneath us. We all thanked the Lord and bought our clothes and left. We thought it would be another cool story to add under our belt.
But that is not the end of the story.
My sister came to me on Saturday the 19th and told in the Cato’s fitting room she had knelt on one knee and asked the Lord to save her. She had realized through that storm that she was not saved. And when she had come out of that fitting room a different person, she finds out that the tornado switched directions. It was like God planned for that tornado to come towards us for that specific reason. I am so thankful for that tornado. I can tell you my family had a hard time going to sleep that night.
As if that one blessing was not enough God kept adding more and more blessing to our family. The Jalowiec family that have come to be good friends, were heading to Louisiana yesterday for thanksgiving. We don’t know f that would be the last time we see each other on this earth so it was going to be sad to say goodbye. Well as God would have it they left their trailer here at the church we are staying at and are coming to pick it up on Friday. We then get to spend all Friday together and can say are goodbye’s then. So even though we still have to say goodbye it is a delayed goodbye."
Needless to say you never know what will happen when you try to be bold for Christ! I had hoped the conversation with me and Beth would open the door for some dialogue with the clerks. I was able to invite the cashier to church, but I had no idea until a few days later the impact the Lord effected on my unsuspecting cohort in witnessing! The Burtons- and my family also- are rejoicing at the salvation of Beth! Also on a side note.... Josiah and Micah have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ during deputation. Josiah after an amazing Resurrection service, and Micah after several weeks of real challenges to his heart and mind starting with some hard preaching on end times in Revelation. God is SO FAITHFUL! We are thrilled to be journeying this road of deputation "with" the Burtons, and are thankful that some of it has been together in physical location, and not just heart!
I had one condition to agreeing to be away from home on Thanksgiving. This past Thanksgiving was perhaps (more like our HoPe!) our last Thanksgiving in the states for a while, for we sincerely pray that we will be in Zambia next year by that time. God knows our timing and also if & when we will be ready!
All that being said, my one condition was that we would be with the closest thing to family 1300 miles away... at that is "The Hayes".
in Oct 2009
This is the same family that kept our three youngest children when we went to Zambia on 2006. A three week time period in which my children experienced sickness the likes of which I never experienced with them. It was "Ma Hayes" that got All the puking, fevers, puking, and more puking. I, to this day, don't think I understand the completely sacrificial way they cared for my family that week. I pray their reward in Heaven will be rich and sweet for that act of mercy and selfless love alone! That was also the same three weeks Ma Hayes turned my once coffee loving youngest child into a tea drinker, but that is another story!
It is also the family that has three boys that are nearly twins to each of my own male children. All alike and different at the same time, and within months of each other in age. It is perhaps one of... if not the only place that everyone has someone to be with... including the adults. "Mr" just takes turns between the adults and the kids.
We were so thrilled to be in their "new to them" home in Southern Louisiana for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful and warm. The fellowship was even warmer and more wonderful! We have been there four times since they moved there, and this was the first time Olivia was able to join us.
I also had one major request that I added to my "one condition"... that we could fly her to where we would be for the holiday. I say "request" loosely. It was more of a demand veiled in sufficient submissive womanly eyelash batting and extra back scratching. There would have been temper tantrums and feet stomping and crying and hunger strikes (who am I kidding?! It was Thanksgiving... That was for sure an idle threat!!) if she couldn't come.
It was a terrific week. We LOVE them all and are so very Thankful for them. We were able to get our Christmas pictures taken there as well, which was a special treat in that it allowed outdoor photos with smiles without teeth chattering!