Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!-- and sorry the post is a few days late!
We wanted to share about some of the things that we are thankful for:

- first and foremost, our Savior and God's Son, Jesus Christ, coming to the earth to die on the cross for our sins, resurrecting to life, and giving us the hope of eternal life through belief in Him
- the privilege, through faith in Jesus, to come blameless in prayer before a holy God because of what Jesus did on the cross (2 Corinthians 5: "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.")
- Squanto (the Indian that helped the pilgrims- amazing background story of Squanto:
- our family and friends back home that love, support, and pray for us
- our friends here in Ghana
- our girls (just celebrated Abigail's 2nd birthday and about to celebrate Rebekah's 4th) growing well
- our health
- electricity and running water (both of which were out for a period of hours on the day before Thanksgiving :)
- ceiling fans that help it not feel quite so hot
- the opportunity to serve the people of northern Ghana at Baptist Medical Centre for the past 1.5 years
- the extra doctors that we have now at BMC (3 long-term Ghanaian medical officers, a Belgian general practitioner, an American general surgeon, as well as US volunteers that sacrifice time with family over the holidays to be here to help us out at the hospital)
- Samaritan's Purse and World Medical Mission for supporting us and making it possible for us to serve at BMC
- turkeys, cornbread dressing, sweet potato pie, etc.
- and many more!


                                                         Thanksgiving night at BMC          
        Countries represented in this photo: Belgium/Burkina Faso, Ghana, Germany, and the US

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Wilderness

   I will start off by saying that we serve a good God who loves us dearly. I have known for many years that God wanted me to serve Him on the mission field. That did not change when I entered medical school, got married, or had children. I still knew that was what God had for me and my family. It has been exciting to watch how God has brought our family here to Nalerigu to serve Him. I have to admit that I did have an image in my mind of what things would be like for us here. Tim and I had been here once before for a month, so I had seen the town and ‘knew what to expect’. We were so excited when we arrived. It was almost like having a baby, waiting and anticipating what is to come and being overjoyed when it arrives. Then the reality sets in. You have to get up all hours of the night to feed and change the baby. You need to make dinner, but she keeps crying every time you put her down. You just changed your clothes and fixed your hair to go somewhere, and he spits up all over you. Well, that is a little bit like how things have been for me here. I know that God has brought us here and I know that it is a blessing to be here, but sometimes I have to ask why. Why did you bring us here to this wilderness?
   A large part of our first year has been filled with ups and downs and frustrations to the point of complete exhaustion. I have often felt like I was in a physical as well as spiritual wilderness. At times, it felt like God brought us here and just dropped us off. I would look for God and couldn’t seem to find Him. Things just seemed to sink more into a valley of wilderness. We don’t know the language; we don’t have many friends; we don’t understand the culture; we can’t find a church to be a part of; Tim seems to be working all the time; the girls have a talent for finding new ways to frustrate me…. Finally, I see it through all the distractions… what God was doing. He is bringing me into the wilderness for me to learn more about Him. He has brought out ugly character flaws to purify them. He has shown me His faithfulness in walking with me and giving me strength through this time. He loves me as I am, despite all this ugliness, because of Jesus. It is similar to the Israelites going through the wilderness on their way to the promised land.

   These times of wilderness can be seen as unpleasant when we focus on our pain or losses. Or we can choose to focus on the fact that we will know and trust Him more at the end and find great joy in spite of our circumstances. I will not say that I have weathered this wilderness well or that I am completely out of this time of learning, but I can say that I am grateful that He has brought me here. We serve a good God who loves us more than we can understand.

Visit to Paga's Chief Crocodile Pond. You may be able to tell that Rebekah and I are pretty unsure of all of this.
 And yes, the crocodile is alive and awake and others are directly behind us in the water pacing back and forth as they eye their next lunch.