Lying in bed, sicker than I’ve been since a particularly bad case of a bad bug I experienced during our first term in Kenya, I realized that all of our preparations to return to Kenya were about to grind to a halt. God had provided our funding through many wonderful partners. Our tickets were purchased. Drivers were scheduled to pick us up from the Nairobi airport on the evening of our arrival. We had reservations in a guesthouse, and our fellow missionaries and national friends were busy preparing our house at Tenwek for our arrival. But there was a problem. Our last week in the States had been fraught with the unexpected and our packing was not done. Our house was not empty. And now, I could not move without passing out, and my husband was exhausted. We had hit THE WALL and our “do it ourselves,” “just work harder” mentality wasn’t going to work.
Weakness. That is not a word I like. Powerlessness. I like that word even less. Yet that is where we found ourselves 48 hours out from THE day I had been dreaming about since I had gotten on the plane that took us back to America last summer.
Lying there, realizing that I WAS NO LONGER IN CONTROL OF THIS SITUATION, this verse came to me:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Paul wrote this when he was struggling with an infirmity of some kind, his “thorn in the flesh” that he had begged to be taken away. But God did not take his thorn away. Instead, He used it to demonstrate how He works through our weakness and our mess and our powerlessness- to do greater things with us and through us and in spite of us.
And so it was in our weak and powerless state two days before we were to return to Africa that God sent a team of brothers and sisters to enter into our mess and illness. These folks-my niece and her husband with their newborn son, a beloved family friend, my husband’s college buddies, dear friends from my women’s group, and teens from our church-just came and worked and then came back the next day to work again-and it was these folks, hands down and without a doubt, that got us on the plane that got us back to Kenya last week-on time and feeling well and full of energy and-hope.
Legos and Hope was the title of our final blog entry last year, written upon our return from our first term as a medical missionary family in Kenya. The year ahead of us loomed large, full of travel, training, speaking, teaching, and -waiting. If you had cornered me last summer I would have admitted that the task ahead of us then seemed especially daunting-really impossible. We had a vision to continue our work among the women of Kenya here at Tenwek Hospital, but in reality, all we held in our hands were bits and pieces of our dream. And so, full of uncertainty but with great hope, we handed our pieces to our Father. Through all of our travels and meetings and speaking-He held the pieces. As He provided for all of our needs-He held the pieces. As we hit the wall 48 hours before our scheduled return, He held the pieces. And today, back at Tenwek, beginning our second term and looking ahead towards the vision for expanded women’s care, ministry and outreach, and training and discipleship for African daktaris, HE HOLDS THE PIECES. And we are confident that He will fit all of these pieces-the people, the plans, the funding, the places and spaces- together to create something beautiful in His time.