"Well for those of you who get our updates and follow our life here in Kenya, you know that our first term here on the field (we have been back now for a little over 2 years) has been full of lots of ups and downs and some days it seems like more downs than ups. Its been filled with a lots of "NEWS" and "FIRST TIMES"
In these last two years I have taken on many NEW roles---new wife, new home, new ministry, new and unexpected mother, new to being pastor's wife, new church, new friends, new mentor, new Bible study teacher, new women's leader, and more....and in all of these roles and "NEWS" my biggest challenge has not only been how to do them all but to prioritize and balance them all well....and in the midst of all of this transition figuring out WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?? WHY AM I HERE? What does God want me to do here?
Yes i know the basic answer to that is because God has called me here and I want to be obedient and serve Him sharing the gospel and discipling others but as I have prayed and studied His Word, particularly going through the book of Esther, He has been teaching me so much more about my purpose. He has opened my eyes to my past experiences, training and all that I have been through and I have been in awe at just how HE has been preparing me all along for where I am at now, and in particular for being Anjela's Mama...He wastes no experience. He is always working to fulfill His purposes in us.
As many might know when we first arrived in Kenya, we had only been married for 9 months and we were coming back to a new home in Kenya together and to a new ministry neither one of us had ever experienced. Both of us had done different types of ministry in Kenya as singles. We arrived in Mombasa at around midnight on April 3, 2008, excited to be back in Kenya and planning to slowly settle back in over the next few months and sort out and discern whether God was calling us to make a big move to Southcoast for Dennis to be pastor of Word of Life Fellowship church. When we went to bed probably around 3 or 4am, suitcases still packed and things scattered all over the apt, little did we know what would be waiting for us at the doorstep the very next morning....but God did..and as we are learning, He is full of fun and unexpected surprises:)
We not only woke up in a pool of sweat, reminded we were back in hot Mombasa but to a knock at the door and a sweet little 6 month old baby girl (Dennis' niece) waiting for us to welcome her so she could call us Mom and Dad.....and it seems like the rest, these last two years have been a whirlwind of an adventure around Anjela...much of it doing a lot of waiting and doing whatever it takes to make Anjela "ours"..
I remember the first week we had Anjela and i was still in shock that we actually had a baby, that we weren't just babysitting her, that this baby wasn't going anywhere, she was here to stay. i had many conversations with God and often His reply was, "Allison, i have been preparing you for this....you love babies, you were trained as a baby nurse, you've taught many moms how to do this, you yourself can do this...no you didn't have the 9 months to psychological and physically prepare yourself or your home but with my strength you can do this. This is my plan for you, and this is my plan for Anjela" ....and over and over in these past two years I have been reminded of this.
And then out of the blue, a dear friend, Denise Sizelove sent me Beth Moore's study on the book of Esther. What a blessing this has been to my life. God has used the life of Esther and that study to teach me so much, in particularly in relation to Anjela. Here's the journal entry i would like to open up and share with you.
"Today as I read a section of "For such a time as this, " it hit me, God put Esther in just the right place of power, at just the right time and circumstances to save the Jewish people. As she contemplated going before King Xerxes, Mordecai told her, " Who knows that you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? " or in other words, "What if you were born for this moment?...all of this made me really think about God's providence and purpose for my own life.....God Himself purposed for me to be Anjela's Mom. WOW! This is so deep to think about! As I think back over my life and how I got to where I am now, could God have really put all the desires for Africa in my heart as a young girl, and the desire for Kenya in my heart years later, only to take me there for 2 years where at the very end of my term i met Dennis (at just the right time when he came back from Denton and i was headed home to America), go through the trials we had with the IMB, lots of long distance waiting, immigration issues, and the other many trials we went through to get back to Kenya together, just so I could be Anjela's Mom??? (at just the right time she desperately needed a new mom) Wow! " And none of the choices I made or experiences I went through to get to the place/position as Anjela's mom was easy! And as I write this we are still going through the difficulties of adopting her as our legal daughter. But as Beth Moore has said, " I had to accept I was not called to an easy life, I was called to a purposeful life." She says, "Beloved, in the times of greatest struggle when you make the Godward decision over convenience, earthly comfort, or carnal pleasure, you too have come to a critical moment in the fulfillment of your destiny----a defining moment."
And i have to say a huge Amen to all of that. God has certainly not called me to a comfy or easy life here in Kenya, and we've had to make so many hard Godward and God-sized decisions , but these 2 years have definitely been a critical moment in the fulfillment of my destiny on earth...
Its amazing and overwhelming and humbling to think....God, you could have really brought me to Kenya "just" for Anjela?? (of course there are many other reasons too)
Everyday I wake up to Anjela's big hugs, smiles and even her non stop chatting, I stand in awe to think that God has chosen me and prepared me to be her Mom. And as i think about Esther's life and where God brought her from it also makes me think about little Anjela herself. Look where God has brought her from! She is a very special little girl, bringing smiles and joy to all she comes in contact. Maybe its because I'm her mom and am a little bias but i think she is very unique and special little girl that God has a very special and big plan for. What that plan is God only knows but i'm excited to see the life He has planned out for her. Could she too become an Esther in one way or another?
The "fight" to make her legally ours has been a long and trying one, frustrating and stressful one, but overall one of the biggest JOYS of my life (besides Jesus and Dennis of course:)) And one of the most life changing and sanctifying periods of my life thus far as well. God has taught me so much, including being still and waiting on Him, serving Him in the waiting, and loving Him in the waiting. Yes I have watched my husband wave bye and travel to and from America several times while Anjela and I remained in Kenya and No I haven't been able to go to America to introduce her to our family and friends there yet and yes it has been a long and hard and challenging two years in Kenya, but would I trade any of it? Would i trade any of the experiences? Absolutely NOT, for He has a purpose and a plan for me as He continues to mold me and make me more like Him....He wastes no experience. And I pray that surely all of these experiences has touched the lives of others around us in some way or another! May He be glorified!! And as far as our experience with the adoption goes, i think this quote that a friend of mine, Casey Chappel, shared with me the other day sums it all up.......
"My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous.
Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him." Derek Loux