We just returned from Portland. The trashcan full of empty Starbucks cups, orange peels, granola bar wrappers and baggies of bits of remaining mashed sandwiches tells part of the story. It seems as though a week has passed since 5:00 am. The long drive home is just one of many distractions for which I’ve been thankful so far this year. It’s as if each distraction has been a special gift from the Lord – each has been a necessary thing, a necessary interruption or a necessary trial or testing of faith. I’ve wondered if I hadn’t had, or if we hadn’t had, all these distractions or interruptions, would I/we have been able to handle the emotions of these days? I know (without doubt, really) that God would have carried us without the distractions, He would have comforted and directed regardless the interruptions, but I also see how He allowed these things to lessen the impact or to actually obscure some of what might have been seen, heard or felt in the days leading to our son’s departure.
I’ve often said that anywhere in the world is safer, better, healthier in the Hand of the LORD than out of it. This isn’t an attempt at positive thinking or persuasion, I do truly trust that there is no place I’d rather be and no place I’d rather have our children be than in the hand or in the will of the LORD and surely, there is not a more fearful, dreaded place than outside the will of the LORD. Faith and trust doesn’t mean the absence of heartache or sorrow.
So, this morning when I hugged Timothy ‘goodbye-for-now’ I was keenly, albeit painfully, aware that God’s blessing was on him, that he was in the Hand and will of the LORD and that God would, at once, protect, guide and provide for him. It never fails that the hustle and bustle and schedules of airports are a subtle distraction to the impact of the moment and the overwhelming, raw emotions. So today, even in the midst of all of that, I kept determining that I’d be aware of each of the children and Wes’s heart for his boy — you know, remembering: “it’s not all about me” and I’m not the only one left behind.
Somehow, other trips were easier (and thankfully, there have been many through the years) and it was somehow easier knowing Timothy would be home again. But this time, unlike former trips and adventures, the separation is more permanent. Other times were short-term mission’s trips, school and work related. This isn’t just another trip, but the beginning of the rest of his life. Now, that may sound dramatic — especially since I/we sincerely believe that everyone, or every believer, rather, is called by the LORD in some manner, to preach the gospel whether in word or in deed. Timothy, like other ‘career missionaries,’ will not have an additional vocation but will be working full time in service to the Lord.
Now, it’s even later in the day and reality is beginning to set in. I’m missing Timothy so much this evening I feel like I cannot breath. His absence, as is true in his presence, is strongly felt. His clothes in the dryer was just one example of strong reminders that he was just here and equally so that he is not. He told all the boys they could have all his clothes and shoes and other things he left out. His bedding was in the washer – I suppose in an attempt to make things easier for me. I smile that no chore for him would be hard to do tonight… somehow doing the laundry is giving me the feeling that I’m still doing something for him. Even though no one will be sleeping there tonight when the freshly washed sheets are put back on his bed.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll have enough done on the webpage where I will begin a journal chronicling his life as a missionary in Tarkwa, Ghana, West Africa. I did this sort of journal for Kathryn when she went to Uganda last year and will add to it when she returns next month.
When Timothy lands in Accra tomorrow, he will travel north, about 120 miles, to Tarkwa where he will live. Initially, it will be both culturally and geographically challenging to him – but he is eager to be there, eager to learn and eager to expereince all that God has for him. His goal and plans are to assist the missionaries he’s traveling with, and to preach the gospel and make disciples — that’s the Lord’s command in Matthew 28 and, in addition, that’s where the missionary’s experience will be so valuable and encouraging. They’ve registered and are establishing a missionary school with the goal of cross cultural training and more importantly that the school will support itself and be operated completely by Africans. This is not a temporary ‘humanitarian aid’ program, but a life changing, training and equipping for ministry and self-sufficient or self sustaining school learning how best to use natural African resources. The resources are rich and abundant, the people are open to the gospel.
After a time of settling in, establishing the school, etc., with local believers working in the mission school, from there he will go with the experienced missionary further north seeking to reach unevangelized tribes and people groups. This is where the cross cultural training will prove to be invaluable: local believers reaching other tribes.
We pray for his work there… we pray for God’s blessing, provision and protection and we pray for good health and strength for them all. Most of all, we pray the Lord will receive great glory and that many will come to know and serve Him through whatever way the Lord uses Timothy.
To God alone be the glory.
Great things He has done.
more later…. —-pamela