Our Unexpected Journey

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This week Floyd had a visit from a friend from our days in Holland who had flown in to see him.   It was a sweet, tender, and emotional time.  Many memories shared.  It's always such a blessing to remember how good God has been to us through the years.

I had a sweet visit with Floyd too.  He woke up as I stood praying by his bed.  I was greeted with a big smile - which always warms my heart.  

I often sense the Lord's presence in Floyd's room.  A few times I've had the sense of being on "holy ground."  I was thinking of that when I read a quote that a friend sent me this week.  It's by David E. Fitch from "Faithful Presence."  

"The hospital room is a sacred space where God in Christ becomes present.  They lie there open to everything and anything God would do in and around them and are often ready to submit everything to God.  This makes them closer to God and His kingdom then even those that visit them.  The best thing we can do is be present.  Tend to what God is doing.  Tend to the presence of our Lord in this place."

Floyd lies there unable to move - but I know his heart is open to God.  I often wonder what God is up to.  And there are so many times when I don't know what to do - except to be there with him......looking to God for His sovereign will to be done.  I love how David Fitch expressed it.

A young couple that we have mentored who are very dear to us are leaving to work in another country.  They went to say goodbye to Floyd this week.  There were many tears all around.  They thanked him for his input into their lives, and asked him to pray for them in this new step.  I know his heart would have been blessed to see them stepping out into new challenges.  The "fruit" of his life and ministry continues on while he lies there.

We've had quite a bit of rain recently - and also some very cold temperatures.  There has been snow on the mountains all across South Africa.  We sometimes get snow on the mountains in winter, but this has been an unusual amount.  Someone sent me this photo of the cross and snow.  

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As soon as I saw it, it spoke to me.

It was a vivid picture of how the cross does battle for us in the storm - how it protects us from whatever is being thrown at us.  Thank you, Jesus, for the cross, and for your protection!

"O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty!  Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You alone."  2 Chronicles 14:11

"The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one."  2 Thessalonians 3:3

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!  I look to you for protection....until the danger passes by."  Psalm 57:1

I'm so grateful for His protection and help in the "storms" that have come our way.  He has been so faithful!

A couple nights ago I was awake during the night praying.  I started thinking about the power of prayer, and how grateful I am that we can communicate with God through prayer.  What a precious gift it is!

And the wonder of it all is that He hears our prayers, each and every one of them.  And He answers!  Sometimes He says "yes."  Sometimes He says "no."  Other times He says "later."  And it's not unusual for Him to let us know He has another way, another plan.  But He is wonderfully attentive to our prayers.

I started thinking back through the years of some sweet answers to prayer that we've experienced.  I remember my very first overseas outreach as a young 16 year old.  I knew God had spoken to me to go, but it was a huge challenge to my faith to trust Him for the finances.  I was nervous, and wondered if it would all work out.  I prayed like crazy!!  It came down to the wire - 6 hours before the plane took off!  But I made it.  And I learned a valuable lesson that has helped me all my life.  Where God guides, He provides......and when He speaks, He comes through to help us!  It was a foundational lesson for the life I would share with Floyd all these years.  I'm so grateful for how He answered, and all that He taught me.

I thought of another overseas outreach.  I was leading a small girls team working in rural villages.  We slept on the floor in school rooms and small huts.  Half way through the outreach, my air mattress sprang a leak.  I tried and tried to fix it to no avail.  In desperation for my poor aching back, I asked my team one night to pray with me - for God to "heal" my air mattress.  There were a few giggles, but they all prayed with me.......and my air mattress never leaked again!

Floyd and I were working in a small village in Kenya when I got very sick.  There was no medical care, and very limited transportation.  My condition deteriorated rapidly, and we realized I might not make it.  We prayed desperate prayers!  Amazingly Floyd found someone with a car who could take us to a hospital a couple hours away.  The doctor said I was just a few hours from death.  He was amazed I survived.

Months later we were visiting my mother in Texas.  Very casually one day she asked what was happening on a certain day, at a certain time.  When we compared notes, we found out that God had woken her in the middle of the night to pray for me.  God spoke to her heart that it was a matter of life or death.  It was at the exact time that Floyd was searching for a way to get me to the hospital.

At Christmas in Amsterdam, we would serve a big meal on Christmas day to people off the streets.  We'd go out and find people wandering around who had no where to go - and bring them to our coffee shop to serve them a lovely meal with songs, decorations, and lots of joy.  It was always a very special day, and we usually fed hundreds of people.

One year we had worked hard cooking the meal, put it in the refrigerator, and got up Christmas morning ready to serve the feast.....only to find out that the fridge had gone off and all the food was spoiled.  No grocery stores were open.  We didn't know what to do.  We called around to all our staff and asked them to bring whatever food they had to help......and we started putting together meals.  We knew we'd have to cut off the serving very early because we just didn't have enough food.  But we prayed - and asked God to multiply our meager rations.

We served one of our biggest crowds that day - and at the end of the day had more food left than we started with.  Sound familiar?  Ours weren't loaves and fishes, but God gave us a similar miracle.  I'll never forget that Christmas day!  He answered our prayers big time.

I could go on and on.  My mind raced through the years thinking of so many answered prayers.  How grateful I am that He hears our prayers, and answers them.

"Tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer."  James 5:16

"You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."  Jeremiah 29:12

"The Lord is near to all who call on Him."  Psalm 145:18

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done."  Philippians 4:6

I am so grateful for all the prayers being prayed for us during this long unexpected journey!  God has heard them.  Each prayer has helped carry us and sustain us.  I, and our whole family, are so very grateful to all those around the world that have lifted us to the "throne of grace where we have received help in our time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

May each one be blessed!