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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Community


Here is little Miss Sunshine, oblivious to the fact that we got some disappointing news regarding the timing of key paperwork needed to exit Uganda and return home.  I have been told to be careful what I post on my blog regarding the process here.....so while I usually err on the side of asking for forgiveness rather than permission....I will exercise restraint and suffice it to say, we won't be home this week!


Sebastian busted out the guitar for some worship music to restore his soul.  He has been amazing, but he is really starting to miss the rest of his family and friends.  I prayed a year ago for him to be able to take a missions trip.  I was thinking South America, maybe for a week or two.  Instead, God did above what I could think to ask and brought Sebastian to my favorite continent and he has seen and experienced more in the last 5 weeks than any high school missions trip.  I know seeds have been planted and divine appointments made that will lay the foundation for further building in Sebastian's life.


I've been so thankful for community.  It has been wonderful to have other people to share life with here and for Esther to be around.  Most of her "peers" at the orphanage were under age 3.  So to have older children here has helped her to learn what meal times are all about for example.  And the other adults have helped her learn really adult things too....like how to perfect the art of playing patty-cake.  She's teaching us all a lot too, just from her hums and her hugs.
  

Community is also nice when you get jiggers and maggots and nastiness in your skin that require a knife to remove.  Or to have someone else around to kill roaches the size of small lizards.  I remember waking up in Liberia to a spider crawling on my head that was about half the size of my head.  God doesn't waste a thing!


Since my relationship with Brad and the other children is maintained via Skype these days,  I find myself praying more for the military families I know.  This is the longest we've been separated in the history of us....I can't imagine what a deployment must be like.


We've been blessed back in Iowa with an amazing community.  My Titus 2 woman, who pretty much taught me everything I know about being a wife and mom, is watching my two youngest.  There is a special grace on my younger ones to be flexible and happy in these situations.  I don't know that the older ones would have tolerated it when they were this young, but God knows what He's doing with birth order, timing, and His provision for each season of life.


When I talk to the children they tell me about their fun adventures and good food everyone is bringing them.  The body of Christ city-wide where we live is incredible.  It isn't just one circle of people.....the churches pray for each other, the homeschoolers are everything from amish-like to pierced and tattooed and we all get together to pray for one another in each other's homes.  There are ministries that exist outside of denominations like the prayer center that minister to whosoever will may come.  (and by the way I had a boda boda driver witness to me!  After sharing the gospel with me he then started talking about how at his church they have these 2 hour time slots where they take turns coming to worship and pray for 24 hours a day.  I told him we did the same thing in Iowa!)



My dancing queens create their own community of joy wherever they go!


My builder and creator tends to attract a community of little boys who think he's incredible.


Miss Esther is still trying to figure out who and what is her "safe environment."  We had the set up for the perfect storm the other day.  I got the news about yet another delay and had to scramble to inform the right people to hold off the plane reservations, cancel plans back home, etc. so by the time we left for an attempt at a pool outing it was pushing nap time.  Now Esther is rocking the sink water exploration, but one look at just the kiddie pool and meltdown began.  Then there was yet another creeper guy that came to ask me a million questions about her "condition" and would not leave.  There are all kinds of superstitions about children with special needs here and unless I physically leave a situation the interrogation does not stop.  There was good reason to leave anyway, as the full on thrashing and screaming fit was beginning.  This trauma mama is used to this drama though, and it was easily resolved by going home and napping in the safe place of her new bed that she loves!


When kids have been through stuff, they fight, flight, or freeze you know?!  Reminds me of how we try to run from God, fight Him, or ignore Him.  His patience is incredible though and He is really committed to us.  I love that we can't overwhelm Him, but His love overwhelms our defenses and pretenses.  


I got to witness the best example of community I have seen in Africa.  It's what I want in Iowa for that matter!  A beautiful property with 10 homes that each have a mama and 10 children. (okay, in my utopia they would have dads too.)  They grow their own produce, have fish ponds, chickens, etc. and a school.  Here the children are listening intently to a Bible story.


And the sick ones are getting prayed for.


And there were even trampolines!


And a tree house with a monkey.


And it's run by the Swiss, whom I have a new love for now!  And what a special kiss from Jesus that my clothes matched the houses.  (and my toenails.  I've had to start rationing the toenail polish remover now that we've been here so long. )


Esther got some practice on how to function in American communities.  She is learning to eat potato chips. While having her feed herself is a fantastic mess, it's so worth it.

Living in a community is like that.  You can't have a group of humans interacting for very long before some type of fantastic mess erupts.  It's no use trying to avoid conflict, it's very useful to learn how to embrace the learning that comes from it.  

Sometimes a group of people can be so toxic that God may ask you to leave.  But often times He asks us to shift a climate by being the change we want to see right where we are.  We can give others permission to do life differently by modeling a better way.  We can look past the "tantrum" like behavior in others and ourselves and see what God is up to by orchestrating these circumstances.  He doesn't waste a thing.  We can thank Him for the people and situations that makes us happy......and the ones that make us holy!

8 comments:

Lynn Jordan said...

I love reading your updates...it's like a book I can't put down. praying your family will be united soon.
Friends in Christ,
Lynn Howie Jordan,
Summerfield NC

Erika said...

Fantastic update, but that last paragraph spoke volumes to me - as a houseparent who lives in community with 35+ other staff and 70+ kids, community is so stretching. Thanks for this fantastic reminder.

Sherry said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, you arrived the day we left Uganda and it helps me feel still connected there..praying for you and your family to be together again.

Sheila Wray said...

Jenny,
Can you post the original video that I saw of Esther? The one that the lady who advocated so long for had on her blog?
I know there is a huge difference already, just the look in her eyes and I'd love to see it again.

Jenny said...

http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/2012/03/needed-loving-family.html

Mandie Joy said...

I hope you don't need it, but you CAN get more toenail polish remover at Nakumatt. :)

Jacqueline said...

Jenny, I love this. You are so inspiring. I hope we get to meet Esther and the rest of your family when you get back!

Janet said...

I am praying that you will be able to come home soon! Janet