I am in a bittersweet season of my life. As we all sometimes are, I suppose.
The bitter of missing my mother; she passed from this life 4 years ago this month. A few days after Mother’s Day.
The bitter of missing my dear family and friends in the States.
The sweet of seeing the Lord work here in Belize, His Word going forth! New believers, young and thriving in their faith, and their hunger for the Truth of the Word of God.
The sweet of new friends, meeting brothers and sisters in Christ; sharing the common bond of faith. The sweet of seeing children grow, and grow in their faith.
The bittersweet of knowing our oldest that next month she will be married. Which makes me tear up even as I type. (I tried to ignore those tears…but they keep coming…Ha!)Knowing she will be moving a jillion miles away to Canada. (well, it may as well be a “jillion”…) But, her marrying a Godly young man who the Lord brought into her life; that makes it sweet.
The Lord had placed us in Pastor Gideon’s church last September. Since then, we have had the absolute joy of laboring alongside them in the village church.
After several months of seeking the Lord in prayer, Maylin began a Sunday School for the village children.
You see…these children were coming to our church. (An open air church. No AC, no cool band…actually no instrumentation at all, no neat programs to draw kids in. )
Sometimes, there were almost a dozen. Children who, all by themselves, went to church. And sat. For almost 2 hours!! Quietly. Sang the hymns with us (the best that they could…I would help them with reading the words; the ones who could read.) Listened to the sermon, listened to the other Scriptures being read and expounded on. Sat quietly through the prayers.
These children were really inspiring to me. They would come. Dressed as nicely as could be. Cleaned. Quiet. All by themselves. The parents/ grandparents/caretakers (often not mom and dad..) would send them off to go by themselves.
They would wander in from seemingly secret paths, winding through the backs of various shacks in varying shades of disrepair.
One or two clutching a worn Bible secured from an unknown relative.
Often, the oldest sister (who is 7) would care for the youngest of the children. Giving them the “parental stare” (some of you know what this looks like….)and keeping the friskiest siblings under control.
The bigger boys in the family would whisper to her during service “Gloria! Kailun is acting up!”
Miss Gloria has to grow up fast. They all do.
So, fast forward to a few months ago. Both Maylin and I had been praying about the children. We both have a heart for them.
“Lord, what do we do with them?”
“Anything? Or keep it the same…?”
Have you ever prayed for what seemed like a long season? And…you wonder if God is going to answer? (or at least answer in the way you expect….or want…?)
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes wait for the Lord” -Psalm 27:14
Well, he opened the door at just the right time and showed Maylin exactly what to do.
For about 6 weeks now, we have been meeting with the children for Sunday School at 9:00. They still come filing thru the bush; threading thru ancient paths that their feet know well. They still come dressed nicely. They still sit quietly. But, now Miss Maylin teaches them the Word of God; going thru a half-year (give or take) children’s study on “Who God is?, What is God like? How should I act toward God?”
Our Sunday School “room”. Very simple.
Maylin was a teacher in the school system here. She is extremely gifted at teaching; and engaging the children. They love her! (and so do I…!)
Last week, as the children were reciting their memory verse from the week before; I saw something that captured my attention momentarily. Yet, the application of it will hopefully stay with me much longer.
As we sit in our Sunday School room, we are surrounded by the neighbors chickens, barking…sometimes roaming dogs, and various other wildlife. Last week a lizard made the children laugh with his funny-running antics.
One of the neighbors hens had a brood of chicks with her. This caught my eye at first, because as I watched the poor hen trying to amble around and forage for her own meal of bugs; her chicks were crowding around her, making it hopelessly unreasonable for her to try to walk. I could relate. I chuckled to myself and thought “…oh, girl, I feel for ya…!”
But, then I noticed something strange. The little chickabiddies were leaping up and banging into her face. I thought that was odd.
Then I realized what was going on.
She was feeding them!
Their meal was coming from her.
It reminded me quickly of how God is my provider.
“ The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
Those little babies could not fend for themselves, but their mom was teaching them. Providing for them, and protecting them from the other, larger birds in the pen.
I have seen the Lord provide in some miraculous ways over my life, and especially over these last few years.
At every turn, the Lord provides for every need. Through His people. In His time. In His way.
I am so humbled and in awe of how He has worked.
I sat for a few emotional moments amidst our Sunday School class.
Silently pondering the goodness of God.
The children still reciting verses.
Sweat still pouring from all of us.
The occasional breeze bringing out sighs of gratitude.
But, I was renewed. I was resting.
Knowing that He is in control.
Someone sent me this very appropriate passage recently…
“O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.”
You know, a few days before this verse was sent to me…I had read that very passage and had been meditating on it.
There have been plenty of things to “worry” about (oh, wait…I should not use “worry”..Lol…)I mean, “be concerned about.”
The Lord had used this passage to quiet my soul and remind me to ‘simply trust Him’.
I guess it is just that simple.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
For His Glory-