I've walked many times through this cemetery with my husband and children. I always go to the small twin grave, where Edith and Ethel, two baby girls died within 12 days of each other. This time, peering down at the names and dates of two souls, bound in the womb, then reuniting in heaven in the arms of Jesus, was especially moving. Just walking into the mission cemetery this time brought the weighted reality of our frail humanness within focus, though blurred by my tears.
The first time I visited the Miango cemetery, I was engaged to Zach. He showed me the grave of his aunt and told me her story of serving the sick as a doctor, which lead to her catching a fatal disease. As we left, Zach walked ahead of me, and I paused to turn around and look at the graves of those who had trodden this soil before me. I told God, "If you can call these faithful ones to live and die here, loving you and loving Nigerians to you, I am willing to live and die here too for your sake and your glory. In that moment, I felt not only called to Zach, but also to this Nigeria he had grown to love.
Today, 9 years later, I sit in the gazebo overlooking the cemetery, and feel God calling me once again, to himself, to a victorious death. I sang,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he as given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you...In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:3-4, 6-9
That day, when my fiance introduced me to this place, was a kind of dying to other dreams, but in that sacrifice, I have found so much joy and life! I have been given all of these things highlighted above! Christ is my imperishable treasure, and because of him, death, even the daily dying, has no sting!