Jesus, the master, said one word, and the fish came.
We strategize, working up to the last day of our departure, working throughout the night to plan, organize last minute details, hand off to the right people, train, pack...
We have tried to be obedient to cast our nets where Jesus has told us to, and yet, we must cling to his knees, cling to the Savior, for only he can bring the "fish", the fruit, the impact of our obedience.
Here we are in the United States of America. What did our last days look like as we clung to the Savior?
Saturday, July 1st:
6-7am Zach and I could be seen finishing up final details on the map we painted with the children in the children's classrooms at our church.
11-2:30pm We made lunch and then prepared for the Beautiful Me program
1:30pm God provided a translator, which I desperately needed to communicate with the mothers of Beautiful Me.
2:00pm It started raining heavily
3:30pm-7:00pm The mothers and daughters arrived (over an hour after scheduled time) in sprinkling rain for our last Beautiful Me before we go on furlough.
7-10pm we clean up, put the girls to bed, and pack some more
Sunday, July 2nd
5am I go to the office to print quiz questions before electricity goes out
6am The electricity goes out right before I hit print
6:15am I'm walking out the door of the office and the electricity comes back! (Thank you God!)
8am We arrive at the church to get the children ready for the big quiz!
9am Church starts
10am The quiz begins with me reciting 2 Timothy chapter 1, the children singing a Scripture Song from 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness," and the youngest group doing a fabulous job remembering all their quiz answers.
10:30am I witnessed a child I didn't even know was paying attention tell Saul's story of redemption on the Damascus road. His oversized winter coat hung below his knees and over his hands, but his words were clear, and the message moving that God can do and change any situation. The other two groups went, surprising me with their clear answers the demonstrated a lot of practice and understanding of God's word.
11am I recited all of 2 Timothy (except the final greetings), which God had most certainly helped me do, and I encouraged the congregation to know God's Word, learn it, love it!
11:30am We ate lunch with the Pastor's family, an unexpected blessing for this pregnant mama.
12pm Went to have a final meal with our dear friends who are currently caring for Daso in our home
2:00pm-7pm I took a quick nap, visitors came to the house to say goodbye. One of them is a woman who has inspired me again and again with her continual support and work in the ongoing Bible translation in her own language, Kuce. She's 75 years old.
Monday, July 3rd - Two days before we leave
9am We finish a Scripture Listening and Reading Group (SLRG) training for another ministry. I was not sure if I should go because of our impending departure, but I was so thankful that I did. The testimonies were so touching. They said things like, "This is the best seminar I've ever attended!" and "My children were listening and answering questions. They were so attentive!" and "I will really use this in my ministry because I can see how this is better than what I'm doing when I'm disciplining." These leaders work with male and female prisoners, patients, female prostitutes, and male drivers at transportation parks.
11am While the training is going on, I run to town to buy the radios they will need to go and apply what we have been teaching them. I tie in some last minute gift shopping as well.
2:00pm we wrap up the training and I go home.
2-6pm I pack while Zach is working hard at the office meeting with people.
6pm Our dear friends Rachel and Uche bring us dinner.
8pm We get the girls ready for bed, and then continue packing.
Tuesday, July 4th - The day before we leave
10am We have a meeting with Rachel (who is also on the Scripture Engagement team) about continuing ministry.
11am I go to meet a mother in a remote part of Jos. Her child has been a part of our ministry over the last year and I couldn't leave without meeting her.
12:00pm I get a hair cut from a visiting beautician from, of all places, Holland, MI.
1:30pm I pick up Daso from school.
1:35pm Go to Mashiah foundation and the House of Hope Sewing Shop to see if the sewing is done for gifts to take home.
2:00pm We go to visit a ministry that offers refuge and support to abused girls and women. Give hugs.
3:00pm We go home to continue packing to find some sweet children have come for homework help. Zach has been working with them, but I tell them they need to go home now.
3:00pm We pack.
5:00pm We go to a July 4th celebration where people talk about all the things they love about America. It made me rejoice that we're going to this special part of the world, and weep as I held Daso in my arms and they prayed for us.
7pm (July 4)-2am (July 5th) We pack.
Wednesday July 5th
7:30am The car arrives to take us to Abuja.
3pm We check into a beautiful apartment for the night (provided for us free of charge by Peniel Apartments).
4pm We watch Despicable Me 3 in a theatre with Daso and her friend, Reese, Zach, and Mariama.
6pm We get Dominoes pizza and enjoy Coldstone creamery.
8pm We have devotions...a meaningful time in the Word of God, praying with Daso about the days to come.
9pm We present her with a Nigerian girl doll that is dressed from her own culture as a going away gift.
10pm We repack and get ready for the next day.
Thursday, July 6th
5:30am We load in the car
6:30am We say goodbye to Daso with tears and "You are my Sunshine"
7:00am We check in and board BA for London and then on to Indianapolis (a day earlier than our flights were first booked, do to the flight being cancelled on Friday).
Friday, July 7th
8pm We arrive in Indianapolis where my sister-in-law, Susannah picked us up.
So the furlough journey begins.
Oh, Jesus, we cling to you!
May you show yourself faithful and true,
Complete what you started in us there
May each we left behind sense your care.
May the children learn and grow,
May Daso your love know,
May mommy's and daughters connect,
May those trained remember, reflect,
May your Word go forth with power,
May you be their strong tower.
Father, we cast on you our desire to see results
For only you can show yourself strong through our weaknesses and faults.
Increase our faith that you will indeed do,
What you have have planned as we surrender to you.