Ecclesiastes 3:1

A time for everything under the sun…

Yesterday we spent the day at the strategic church (which means this church goes out to the “mission point” churches to mentor & disciple), in the city where we are lodging. So it was an easy drive. We saw a little over 100 people before lunch and I felt as though I couldn’t catch my breath. We all had to eat lunch in shifts. The afternoon slowed down drastically and some of the team were able to pack up and walk downtown to do some shopping. As they were gone, a huge black cloud came and poured out buckets of water and I wondered if they had all found shelter. The temperature dropped and it seemed finally, that a cooler air came whispering through the windows of the room I resided. Once the cloud was rung out, just as the climate I’m familiar, a blanket of heavy humid air settled on the city and I thought I was back in Alabama. 
By 4:00pm, we packed up and headed back to the hotel to clean up for dinner. I began typing this post but was interrupted for dinner. Afterwards, several of us gathered together to play a game of Phase 10. 🙂 I made it to phase seven.
You may be wondering why I chose the above scripture. It seems like I saw and heard and did many of the things just as this scripture mentions. A time to break down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to seek; a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to cast away. A time to tear and a time to sew. A time to keep silent; a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate…

A time to weep and a time to laugh…

There were several women I saw that I quietly prayed that God would open the eyes of their hearts – as they read His Word with their new glasses. And the strange thing…two of them broke down crying as they proceeded to read: “If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Each time this occurred it was as though I anticipated their tears and held mine at the gate until theirs were released first. And when they were- my tears burst through the dam with relief and joy. In those moments, no language can separate two women who live worlds’ apart as we share in our weeping with tightly clasped hands. And though words of different languages were being whispered back and forth between us – our spirits most certainly understood.

A time to tear and a time to sew…

I had the opportunity to see several special needs people: some blind, deaf, mute and with physical and mental disabilities. You notice in them, a deep sense of great appreciation for the simple things in life that we oftentimes take for granted. One particular woman comes to mind. She was deaf, mute and illiterate. So there was no way we could use the reading chart to estimate her need. And because she was unable to talk or understand – it seemed initially, a difficult task to help. When quietly and with planned intention, she reached deep into her purse and revealed a small emerald green spool of thread and needle. She grunted for me to see what she had as her hands trembled. My heart leapt! I immediately began grabbing glasses to place on her face as she tried to thread her needle. Nope, not that one. Nope, not that one. Then finally, we found the pair. It was a +1.75. She was overjoyed and spontaneously gave the universal sign of satisfaction; the thumbs up sign. Again, the tears burst through the gates of my eyes. Luckily, one of the team members snapped photos to capture her moment of excitement. I pray I will always remember to thank God for the simple yet MOST essential things in life. And by the way – she was a church member, so likely, a sister in Christ.

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing…

I’m always amazed at the building, molding, and sifting God continues to work in my heart even more magnificently on these trips. In a sense, these nine days away from my family and all my comfortable things each year act as a sort of “fast.” And as you know, when we fast (from whatever it is), we more clearly see the weaknesses that drive a wedge between us and our Heavenly Father. So it was yesterday, as I fought back some personal issues and decided to embrace that which should be embraced and refrain from embracing that which does not need to be held. My focus will be on God’s mission, whether oceans away from my home or sitting at my kitchen table sipping coffee and teaching my children to divide fractions. And if there are things that I should embrace – I will, with God’s help. Just the same, if there are things that cause a stumbling and a hindrance – I will refuse to embrace and instead; cut away. There is a time for everything, even for planting and a time for plucking up.

We are traveling back to the mountainous village that I wrote you about the other day. Rather than having a worship service though, we are setting up mission work. We have prayed that after last Sunday’s church service and invitation to their friends and family that God will bring those that He is drawing unto Himself. Whatever gift we give we bring (whether by word or deed) is sown for His glory. I pray we never boast. It is through Christ and His spirit that we are able.

God bless you guys. 

Kimberly

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