Hi praying friends,
I must apologize for my delay in giving a final update. Finishing our time in the camps was emotional and challenging. It was incredibly difficult to walk away knowing that I will never see them again on this earth. It’s even more challenging to know that I might not see them again, if they never surrender to the Lord. It makes my throat tighten up even now.
I hate goodbyes. I hate the uncertainty, I hate the emotion, I just hate it. It’s even worse in this kind of circumstance. I spent two weeks pouring my heart out in the form of teaching. I sought desperately to communicate the gospel, but couldn’t articulate it enough.
Our last day in the camp was beautiful. When we arrived at the family camp in the afternoon, the women had set up our normal “school table” with a tablecloth, plates, cups, and covered food. They were all wearing their nicest dresses and make up (something they hadn’t done in two weeks!). It was evident that this was a special day.
We helped them finish cooking “dinner” and gathered around the table. It was such a sweet time and I fought back tears the entire time. Leaving is just so hard. We laughed as we ate salad, rice, fruit, and goat (yikes). They are just so sweet.
One of the camp directors was around and she told us later that she had never seen the women connect like that with a short-term team. Praise God for the relationships that He allowed us to build! I can truly say I loved those women as deeply as my heart is able and I long so much for the Lord to complete His work in them.
While we were in Valetta a few days before, we each bought a little gift for our students. After dinner I took Khadija aside and gave her a little gift, a picture of the two of us, and a letter. I bought her a blue scarf, and I got myself a matching one. I wore mine that last day and I told her that every time I wore the scarf I would think of her. She smiled so big! In the letter I took the opportunity to write out the gospel in the simplest way that I knew how. I wrote that I hoped she would keep the note until she could read and understand English. I told her I hoped she would find someone to translate for her.
I know it’s not much. It doesn’t even really seem productive. I’ve battled feeling inadequate and insufficient in our work and service. The good news is: I know they are lies. I read back over my first post where I said, “I care nothing if we see the fruit of this trip on this earth as long as I know that His word has gone forth.” Ya know, it’s really easy to say that before you go. It’s really easy to be hopeful in the beginning and to think that you’re going to save Malta in two weeks. It’s really easy to have confidence when you start seeing fruit.
It’s really hard to have a language barrier. It’s really hard to write the alphabet ten thousand times only to have her guess X every five seconds. It’s really hard when she stares at you blankly every time you say the name Jesus.
It’s hard, but the promise doesn’t change. I am confident that God is going to accomplish the purpose that He set for His words. I am so humbled that I got to be that mouthpiece, and I cannot imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life. I am confident that seeds have been planted and that Jesus is faithful to send someone to water those seeds. I don’t doubt for a single second that our time in the camps was filled with deep purpose.
I know that I cannot save. I know that Jesus can. Praise Him for that!! …and for a thousand other things.
Thank you so much for praying me through this trip. I could honestly go on for pages telling of the way that Jesus taught me during these three weeks. I very much anticipated doing a lot while in Malta, but I never would have dreamt that He would teach me so much about my own heart. He is surely doing a renovation in me and I anticipate the finished product.
I ask that you would continue to pray for the men and women that we served. I have hope that Jesus is going to harvest those seeds someday. My heart longs in a way I’ve never felt to see those women again. I want desperately for Jesus to send more people to them and I want them to be passionate about seeing His glory shine. There is a song I love called “What We Hope”, and I am claiming a line from that song:
“We’ll rest in what we don’t know, and we’ll speak of what we hope.”
That’s my banner, folks. I’m resting in the fact that I simply don’t know, but I will boldly proclaim the hope I have that Jesus will ransom their hearts and lead them to salvation.
Thank you, again. You mean so much to me!
in Christ alone,