We appreciate the concern and prayers of our family, friends, and faithful supporting churches during this interim while we await news of visas from Australia. With the changes have come challenges.
I find it so much easier to think conversationally. Why is it so complicated to sit before a blank computer screen, contemplating and corralling my thoughts, clicking them out on a keyboard, only to see them convene letter-by-letter before my face…and realize they are not truly casting a clear and complete reflection on all this internal cogitation?
These have been curious days for us. At times we feel a bit confused; not quite here, definitely not there! It’s not as though we have been on holiday nor just sitting around careless and comatose. Since our return in November we have repeatedly sorted through our belongings, the cumulation of 16 years of living here, each time purging and pealing back another layer of our possessions, thinking we are finally culminating down to bare bones, only to do it again. And each layer gets closer to our hearts as we’ve selectively chosen the most meaningful, cherished items to keep.
The first few months we collected and culled what could be used by other missionaries in the country, concentrating especially on another family soon to move to Swaziland. Multiple trips were made, contributing to those commencing and continuing ministries here in our beloved South Africa. The conveyance of these items allowed us some sweet fellowship, connecting with our field comrades here, making this difficulty more bearable. What a blessing to have companions that share a common heart as co-labors together with God (1 Cor 3:9). As we conferred these gifts we conceded that the Lord knows best what we all need.
Amidst the packing, schooling, and ministering here in Africa the Lord also allowed some crises to enter our lives. While on furlough Dad Wilhite had passed from this life to the next. Now Jerry faced his mother’s cancer and death. One of our dear daughters also bore the cross of sorrow as she committed Adaline to the care of our Heavenly Father. The comfort of heaven is a blessed consolation! (1 Thes 4:17,18)
The Lord had granted us an adequate temporary “cottage” in Polokwane. As the time drew nigh to leave there God opened up an opportunity to stay in another missionary’s home while they are away. I’ve often said we are all about time; God is about timing. This was more than mere coincidence, convenience, and comfort. I am confident this was but another glimpse at the Lord’s compassion and capability to meet our needs. (Luke 12:24,28-34)
Recently I was challenged by the testimony of one missionary, Darlene Deibler Rose, who lost her home and precious wedding keepsakes in a moment. En route to church we distributed some gospel books in a nearby squatter’s camp where the one-room shelters are randomly built out of any available material, most sitting an arm’s length from each other. Oh, the bleak conditions some abide! Oh, the copious blessings we take for granted! It is sad, sad, sad how they live. And in comparison, it is sad, sad, sad the way most of us live, without conviction, calloused, with neither a clue nor a care about the countless lost souls about us.
Although I have concentrated on the physical parting with material goods, more could be said of some spiritual concerns that compel us to pray and counsel. The cost of discipleship can be great. But it is not all difficult, disappointing, discouraging. I am convinced that God is good —ALWAYS good, both in who He is and what He does. Thus, I am content, grateful for some losses in life, such as the loss of guilt and sin; of wrong friendships or foolish relationships; of difficult memories or strenuous tasks, to name a few.
As I conclude my contemplation I trust some will consider this time as having a cause and a purpose. Although, I confess, at times unbidden tears, perhaps selfish, have been our companion, our commitment is to do God’s will, whatever that may entail.
May the Lord find our character and conduct faithful, conscientious, consistent, constant, consecrated, courageous in any case and every circumstance.