Sharing In Christ’s Sufferings

On Friday I thought to myself, boy I am not going to have a single thing to write about because it has just been a very plain week, nothing exciting, nothing world changing, not even thought provoking, just a week of admin and runny noses and dirty little hands and silly smiles.  Ha!  God always draws a message and life changing experience out most things for me.  This week the devil got served his notice once again as God moved on my behalf.

I spent the entire week traveling back and forth into town gathering prices and information to work out my budget for the Aweil Base which is going to spring into action the beginning of February 2013.  I wracked my brain trying to think of every detail, down to the cost of sugar and flour and beans and a plastic plate and medicine for the boys.  You name it, I thought of it.  And I can guarantee you that I still missed something.  Well, when it all boiled down to the final budget to get me off the ground and feed and care for these boys for just one year, I was somewhat surprised, and not in a good way.  I then proceeded to cut corners and trim here and trim there and still came down to the figure of $38,000.00.

So I spent the next day or so thinking inside, how am I ever going to do all of this?  And that’s just the first year?  What if I go up there and start this little work and then the next year comes and I can’t do it anymore?  Oh boy the thoughts that ran through my mind.  I was almost quitting before I even got started.  That is so not like me.  But it was overwhelming me.  Then Saturday morning I woke up feeling physically sick.  I thought maybe it was just another parasite attack, which is pretty normal around here.  As the day wore on I got so much worse.  I had never been this kind of sick here in Sudan before.

That night I literally, no exaggeration, drenched all my sheets and my nightclothes.  I had to get up at one point and drop the entire soaking mess on the floor and drop myself back onto my four inch foam mattress, teeth chattering uncontrollably.  I had just reached my third year anniversary that day of being in Sudan and now I finally went and did it.  I got Malaria.  Talk about the most miserable sickness.  Imagine having constant diarrhea and it being nighttime and raining to top it all off and then having to walk 44 yards (I counted it) to the latrine in all this each and every time, many times 5-6 times an hour.  One can barely manage the walk much less remembering to take the keys to unlock the door and the flashlight to find the way and a raincoat.  Then you are afraid to sit there for too long because the flies begin to dive bomb you.

On top off all of this your body hurts so bad that no matter how you lie or toss and turn, it hurts and you just wanna cry.  All kinds of thoughts ran through my head these last three days.  What am I still doing here?  Why am I doing this to myself?  I don’t have anything to prove.  I can go back home and hold my head up high without failure.  The long night and day wore on.  I wasn’t improving.  Couldn’t eat anything.  Couldn’t drink anything, at least where it would stay down.  On the third day I reached a breaking point in my thought process.

I began to think of that little boy lying in the street in Aweil who was so sick that he just lay there in the dirt as life moved around him leaving him for dead.  I thought of Moses and how very sick and close to death he was when he came to us.  I started to think of the pain and suffering these helpless little bodies had to go through with no one out there to help them.  And I started to follow my own advice again and take my eyes off of the “big picture” and zoom in on what really mattered.  One little life laid down for one other little life each day.  Basic missions 101.  One at a time.

Even if all I did was go to Aweil and care for those little boys when they are sick and give them a cool cup of water when no one else will, give them a piece of bread when no one else will, give them a place to lay their head while they recover when no one else will, then THAT, that is why I will go.  If I don’t have enough to feed them each year, then I will love who I can and care for who I can and continually ask God to give me the grace to do what He has called me to do, stop for the one He places in front of me each day.

As I write this I have eaten my first meal, which has finally stayed inside of my body.  I am listening to amazing worship music sitting on my front porch, still too weak to move about much, and I am so filled with joy inside because God has once again reminded me of how much I mean to Him and how amazing are the plans that He has for me, for all, who call upon His name and believe that He really is who He says He is.  I know He will move heaven and earth for me.  He has many times. He has never ever failed me and I can sit here and write this in my weakness.

So, I am told that I still have a day or two of recovery as I get my strength back and am able to keep things down.  I just know that I have such a better understanding of the daily trials of these people who have to deal with this sickness all the time.  Malaria is such a normal part of life here and most other third world nations.  When you pray, pray that a vaccine comes soon.  It is still the biggest killer of babies.  I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering that a baby must go through when I know how bad it was for me, much less a street boy with no mama and no home and no medicine.  Oh Jesus, whatever it takes, keep opening my eyes.

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Romans 8:17-19  We are co-heirs with Christ, IF indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.  This present suffering is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  ALL of creation is waiting in eager expectation for us, the sons of God, to be revealed.

Salaam Taki, Peace is yours.  It always has been, even in the suffering.  Peace is what will carry us through.  Thank you all so much for your prayers.  I so need them and never ever take them for granted, no not ever.  I love you all so very much and am so amazed that God has assigned you to my team as we run into the darkness, into His glory together!!