Monday, April 13, 2015

Finding Joy in Difficult Times

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Ashley, Lillian, Ella Jade, Duncan and MacGregor serving His Kingdom in Eastern Africa.  As God promised Abraham we have been blessed to be a blessing in this season. 
So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
What a tragic couple of weeks it has been here in Kenya.  Al-Shebab has again struck at the innocents killing 148 at a university campus in the north east of the country.  Fear is gripping the nation as an exploding transformer yesterday caused a stampede in Nairobi killing one and injuring over 100.  Enough of that is being reported all over the media so we will leave it alone in this letter.  Paul shows us here that the physical world is destined to parish and to stay focused on the eternal life everlasting.  That is the calling for us.  Thanks to all of you who have reached out with concern.  The safest place for us to be is in the center of God's will for our lives.  Ashley would love to share with you some of God's recent majesty bestowed on her and Lillian in the story below.   

Around three weeks before Lilly’s 15th birthday, I happened to walk up on a group of mom’s discussing a mount Kenya hiking trip.  Curiosity caused me to probe a bit…. I have had mild interest in hiking Mt. Kenya, but had always said, I want to go with a really good group of women, but when I heard the weekend they were planning was Lilly’s birthday, I thought oh, well, not my time, but providentially, they were planning a mother/daughter trip!  Even better, I thought, but then had to convince Lilly that this would be better than a slumber party with friends.  Lilly’s first experience just hiking to the Old Moses base camp (6th grade CFS) was a nightmare of long waking in the rain and cold on crutches, so I knew this would not be an “easy sell”.  I pitched it as an opportunity for redemption!  Addding…..”who else can say they summited Mt. Kenya on their 15th birthday?”  That’s my girl…she was up for the challenge!  We did our nightly mountain climbers to prepare and  scrambled to borrow gear from other missionaries.  The trip itinerary included 4 days and 3 nights.  All of us in the group, prudent middle-aged moms and greenhorn pre-teen/teens were hoping to make a summit climb, but agreeable to whatever the experience would bring.  That’s another way of saying we weren’t’ going to beat ourselves up if we didn’t make it.  I kept telling my self, I’m as fit as a 6th grader….right?  We also took preventative altitude sickness medication, which I am convinced made us need way more potty breaks, (compared to a placebo group of teen/middle-age group of females J) but seriously contributed significantly to our making up with relatively few altitude symptoms.

Was it hard?  Yes!  It was physically hard!  Emotionally… not too hard.  Spiritually very rewarding!

Physically – no shower for four days… sharing a bunk room with rats and 11 women,….one toilet with no seat….very cold temperatures at night… hard (and very used)  mattresses….sleeping in 4 layers of yoga pants and a hat and gloves. The good…AMAZING WEATHER…..a total answer to prayer.  There were times I was praying with every step, “please God don’t let it rain” and “Thank you God for your INCREDIBLE creation.” And those prayers interjected with thoughts of the little Engine that could….”I think I can….” Al the while leaning heavily on my walking stick and grateful that my knees weren’t in too much pain.


Emotionally/Mentally – We had such a great group!  No arguments, everyone polite.  Our guides did an amazing job of pacing us and keeping our group together.  The gradual ascent kept anyone from burning out or having to play catch up.  Our collective attitude of non-competitive fun and relaxed ideas about making the summit or not, allowed us to be flexible and ultimately reach our goal.  All 11 of us summited.
 

The Spiritual journey was different than I expected.  I was prepared for the climb to be more physically challenging (weather or altitude) and thus imagined praying for mercy and misery relief.  However for me this climb was much more of just a direct sensing of God’s grace.  He was merciful to not rain on us, and at the same time so full of grace, giving us just what we needed in the moment.  On the last morning, the day after our summit and before our long walk down, I woke up early.  The thought of getting back in the cold hard bed was too much, so I stepped out in to the pre-dawn.  I enjoyed such a precious time with The Lord.  He showed me His Glory in a new light.  “Majesty” was the song in my heart.  Our God is SO big!
As always we thank you for your love and support! Much love from Ashley, Lillian, Ella Jade, Duncan and MacGregor. 
Please send us your prayer requests or just say hello at:     Ashley's Email     MacGregor's Email

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