I was miserable. Home-sick and I hadn’t even left home yet. Angry at my adventurous husband ,who was dragging us half-way round the globe, to a country where we could be killed for sharing our faith. I wanted to be as excited as he was, but I wasn’t. I wanted to surrender my will but I couldn’t! I didn’t want to go!
You’re supposed to be open to new opportunities, I kept telling myself. To stand up for Christ, ready to go where He leads.
But my stubborn will shook its angry head, stomping out any motivation I was trying to muster up. As the day for us to leave drew near, I wore my plastered smile like permanent make-up and played “Oh! I am so excited about this trip!” like a recorded message, each time anyone asked how I felt about it. Outwardly, I clinched my act as ‘The Happy Minister’s Wife’ while inwardly I was brewing with bitterness and discontentment.
One evening, days before we left, weary from fighting, I sat sobbing at the kitchen table. Asking God to help me, I surrendered to Him. I didn’t become excited but I wasn’t as angry. I knew in that moment as I prayed and asked for God’s help, I wasn’t just being dragged along. God wanted to use me too.
The congregation brought little parting gifts knowing we couldn’t carry much and several committed to praying for us daily. One little girl brought me a bracelet she made herself.
“I couldn’t quite decide what color to make it.” She said blushing. “So I used all the colors I had!”
It was the cutest bracelet I’d ever seen.
“It’s beautiful!” I said, slipping it on and squatting to give her a hug. “Thank you darling!”
It was her two fish and five loaves and Jesus did multiply it.
In a community hostile to the Gospel and ready to kill to stop it, we shared the Truth; giving out bibles to those who could read and holding small services in our home every once in a while. So many hungry souls came to know Him and I was amazed at how God poured out His compassion into my once unwilling heart.
We’d been there three years when the war broke out. Six months into the war, we had to leave. Little Tukarah wept when her mother told her.
“But Mama Pastor…” she cried. “How will I remember all you’ve told me about Jesus?”
My eyes welled up with tears at the irony of how hard it was now, to leave the people I had not wanted to meet.
I looped my colorful bracelet twice around her tiny wrist.
Tukarah couldn’t read but she knew her colors.
Pointing to each bead as I spoke, I told her.
“Blue reminds me of how sad I used to be and yellow is how happy I am now, because I know Jesus loves me.”
She nodded, wiping her tears and listening intently as I explained in her native language.
“Red reminds me that He died for me and green tells me because He rose again, I have abundant life. Gray reminds me of how dark the world was before God created it and orange reminds me that like sunset, it will end. Purple assures me that when that happens, I will reign like a king with Christ.
And white…” I smiled, “Reminds me that there will be no more darkness, only light.”
The war is nearly over but it is still unsafe to return. We receive news from time to time about how the church we started there is growing and how many are turning to Christ. We send aid and supplies and never forget to pray for them. Last year Eric took a trip with some other ministers to visit the war-torn community. Pregnant and heavy, I had to stay at home.
When he returned, he told me of a young girl and her faith. Looking at her picture, I immediately recognized her pretty face and the lovely bracelet she was wearing. She still can’t read, as there are no schools; so she shares her faith as she understands. She wears it on her wrist but it’s written on her heart. She doesn’t have much, but she’s giving all she’s got. She makes the most beautiful, colorful bracelets you’ve ever seen and hands them out to girls on the streets; sharing her faith with painted seeds.
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