The phone rings. I pick it up, but don't recognize the voice on the other end of the line. This is odd, since very few people ever call our landline. After a few moments, I realize it is a fellow missionary that I've "spoken" with more on instant messaging than with voice. She lets us know that she and her family will be arriving to visit us in a few days.
Another phone call rings through in the early morning hours, this one, a dear friend with a very sick brother.
We begin to make tentative plans pertaining to the first call, and simply step in to help with the needs of the second.
I write down my ideas for meals for 12 for the week the visitors will be with us, and then take a few minutes to pray for my friend's brother. The phone rings again, this time with my husband asking questions about causes of paralysis of the vocal chords and one side of a person's body. I realize this might be one of those phone calls that will change my life for who knows how long.
Test are run, surgery is scheduled, a diagnosis is made. Things look stable for the time being.
This work we've been called to do, it's a work of faith.
As my friend comes and goes from the hospital, she's worn, tired, afraid.
We take time to call.
We help in little ways.
We drop food off for those who are well and watching.
We help with meals for the one who is not well.
We labour in love.
This isn't an easy place to be, the place where there is no way of knowing what is around the corner.
But this is a work of faith we've been called to.
We cling to the truth that God know whats best for all of us.
I'm home with the girls and hubby is at the hospital. The prognosis is not good.
The phone rings again; it's our visitors calling for directions to the house.
I give them the list of landmarks to look for since we don't really use road names here. I hope I've remembered all of them correctly.
They arrive just after my husband calls to tell me that our young friend is gone. He doesn't know when he'll be home from the hospital. It's his time to weep with those that weep.
I cradle the phone, and then head out the door to greet our guests.
I'm not quite sure I'm up to this, this welcoming of mere acquaintances into our home for the next week, but this is the work God has given me to do.
I step out in faith, though it feels a bit shaky. I ask God for courage to do my job today, my job of loving those whom God has brought across my path for this time.
The days speed by as my husband helps with the billion and one details that go with moving a human's remains from the big city hospital to the village, and helping people get time off classes, and driving others to catch the bus, and pulling out another mattress so our friend doesn't have to go home to an empty house quite yet, and loving the people God has called us to, and I try to keep a house full of people happy and fed and ready for whatever is next on the list. There are times of laughter and fun as eight children, ages 11 down to 9 months spin through the rooms at a dizzying rate. There are late nights shared with new friends, memories made over ice cream and discussion of Star Wars and cooking failures. There are moments of painful weeping, too, and I wonder if I'm getting any of this right.
I feel inadequate to this task. The right words elude me. I'm not sure if any of the 13 people in our house are getting what they came for.
And now our house is quiet.
It's been that way for a few days.
Being the type of person that needs times of solitude, my cup is slowly being filled back up.
I ponder over the last few weeks.....
Did I do enough?
Did I say the right things?
Did I do my work in faith?
Did I labour in love?
Did I do my best?
My Bible opens to the words I need for this day ~
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; ~ I Thessalonians 1:3The answer is there: patience of hope.
The last thing God has called me to do is patiently hope.
With divine help I can do my work of faith and labor of love, but in the end, I must calmly, cheerfully, hopefully place everything in His hands.....
knowing He will take care of the outcome.