Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Reflecting & Remembering

I love reflecting because it is always so encouraging to remember God's faithfulness and how He's so lovingly cared for and guided us. Many times in the Scriptures, God's people were exhorted to "remember",  to look back and recall how God had been present and real in their lives. Last Thursday I spent my early morning quiet time reflecting and I'm so thankful I did because  Thursday ended up being a very challenging day. I needed to keep reminding myself to remember.

One year ago, this month, we were still in the States on our home assignment praying about what God had next for our family. In November, we believed God was confirming to us to continue in South Sudan despite the unrest and lack of peace and stability. I am thankful I have a bench mark to look back to. God gave Eli and I such peace one year ago and He continues to grant us that same peace "that passes all understanding". Though we didn't know exactly what we were coming back to, we knew He wanted us back.

In February 2015 we flew back to Kenya, not knowing the next step but by March, after Eli's quick trip in to Melut, God opened the way for us to return to our home and ministry there. We spent 6 wonderful weeks in Melut, re-connecting with old friends and making new ones and opening up new classes on the college campus. These are sweet memories we will hold onto.

June and July were hard months because we had to leave South Sudan and wait things out in Kenya, again not knowing what was next. We knew our hearts needed some time to heal from our losses in Melut before we were ready to see what might be next. Though it was a difficult season, God was so near and comforted us through friends and family near and far, and through the hardships, our marriage and family seemed to grow even stronger.

On August 4th we arrived in Doro, full of excitement and anticipation and so very thankful that God had returned us to this wonderful country that has captured our hearts. Tomorrow will mark 3 months in Doro and we are amazed how at home we feel! One value that Eli and I pray for in each season of our lives and in every place that He carries us  is to bloom where we're planted. We believe we are blooming again. We might be a different color blossom, growing in different soil, but we are blooming and we pray we are giving off a beautiful scent of Jesus to those around us.

Flowers blooming outside our new home
Eli and I spend many evenings after the boys are in bed, talking about our new life here and how different it is from our life in Melut - though we are still in the same country! We now live amongst many many internally displaced people and are meeting people from tribes we've never even heard of before!

Another surprise is how God has seemed to "plop" us into a new and very exciting ministry of getting to teach the Bible to a tribe that has been very closed to the gospel in the past. This is not something we were expecting to be a part of when we decided to join the team here in Doro, but we have been so humbled and thankful to the Lord for how He's allowing us to be a part of it. We are adjusting from teaching in the front of a classroom (our ministry at Gideon Theological College) to sitting in the shade of a tree, teaching the Bible from the very beginning to people who have never heard it before. It is very exciting!

Teaching from Genesis 3
We all have a history. We all have beautiful testimonies to reflect on. I hope my reflecting will encourage you to do the same. And now, we must press on. We are all in the midst of a "story" that we'll look back on in a few months or a few years and be amazed and encouraged by God's faithfulness during this time. So keep that in mind.

2 comments:

Chris and Sarah Power said...

This is great Bethany! So encouraging to see how He's using you there and wonderful that you feel so at home after such a short time. With these new tribes that you're able to share with, what language are you teaching in? Really enjoy getting a glimpse into your life. Much love to you, Sarah x

Jared Staples said...

How wonderful to see how faithful God is. So glad to see the picture of your beautiful flowers and to realize that you are blooming right where God has planted you. I know He will continue to water you and cause you to grow...for He is faithful!
Leeann