Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The "Wait-a-Minute Bush"

As we walk the rural paths through Kenya, sometimes we get our clothing caught on a thorny bush that lines the fields, and it makes you have to stop and get untangled, often requiring someone else to come to your aid.  The controversial comedian, Mike Warnke, talked about a bush like this in Viet Nam, which he called “ The Wait-a-Minute bush.”

Jill caught in a thorny hedge to a field.
God caught us up in a "Wait-a Minute Bush" over the past few months, and we are grateful for those who came  alongside us to help us through it.

“It looks like carcinoma,” were the words from Linda’s radiologist on June 18 after a mammogram and an ultrasound. We had come to the US for two and a half weeks to speak at a conference, and visit our parents.  We hadn’t planned for this.  But God knew, and He went before us, having caring and capable health providers smooth the path before us to come to the right diagnosis and treatment decisions, after finding breast cancer at an early stage.
In a courtyard at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, MI - not where we had expected to be!
God infused us with his peace in the midst of  changes of plans. The morning of my first surgery, John and I shared Psalm 33:20-22 together, and it was the first thing on my mind coming out of anesthesia.  “We wait in hope for the Lord, he is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

The plans of our family for the summer were turned topsy-turvy, but we eventually ended up on the same continent and shared two weeks together in between my two surgeries.

We were on the road a lot, but with three young eager drivers, no one grew weary of driving.

Besides visiting family, we got away for a few days together in the Smokies in Tennessee.

The list of those who helped us through this time is extensive: our three children, supportive family members and friends who brought meals, kept us in their homes, sent flowers and cards, called and  visited; doctors and health care workers who  cared well for us, prayed with us, and urged us on in the healing process; praying friends from the farms in Nebraska to the hillsides of western Kenya; caring WGM colleagues and mission leaders; all those who covered our responsibilities at Tenwek during our absence... We felt very loved and supported through this time and are so grateful to be part of God’s world-wide family.

Dr. Ron Baker, a colleague from Southwestern Medical Clinic in Michigan, was one of several doctors who came to help during Tenwek's very busy months.
John and Joel returned to Kenya in August, and I came back September 22 being accompanied by my two sisters, Jill and Sue.  That was just one of many bonuses the Lord gave us during this journey. While we were sharing our life and friends in Kenya with them, I was continuing to regain strength, and am thankful to be “back to normal” now.  God is so good.

Sue, Jill and Linda at a village Sunday service where a cow was dedicated
Besides a warm welcome back our first day, and many individuals coming to visit, each week the groups of Kenyan friends keep coming, to sit with me and join in praising God for his faithfulness and His healing.  Each visit helps reinforce the deep sense of gratefulness in God’s work of grace and healing.  And hopefully deepens all of our faith as we face the unknowns ahead.

The top Tabitha Bible study leaders were among the first to visit to praise God with us.

As we have returned to our lives and ministry at Tenwek,  our desire is to put into practice the truths God is still teaching us through this detour:

  • None of our ministries is more important than our relationship with God Himself.  Waiting on Him for guidance, rejoicing and trusting in Him – this is His desire for us.
  • The work in which we are involved is God’s work, and He can accomplish it without us.
  • When crises come, God is enough.
  • Above all, God is faithful.

Evaline, a Kenyan friend, made this and had it hanging in our home on our arrival.  So true!!!