Counting the Cost

The Daily Nation, is a local paper here.  I subscribe to their mobile service so that I get text messages of late-breaking news.  Usually headlines are of corruption in government, or yet another fatal traffic accident.  However, yesterday

morning during church service a message came that made me stop and think…

altar at Nairobi church attack

“ ONE WORSHIPER (sic) dead, ten others seriously injured in a grenade attack at God House of Miracle Church in Nairobi, Ngara area.” read more

The attack was credited to Al Shabaab, the Somali branch of Al Qaeda.  I know last week the American Embassy put out an alert that there was an increased danger and for Americans to be alert about their personal safety.  And yes, I appreciate the comments from several of you on that issue.

Foreign-field missionaries often talk about “counting the cost” and there are many – leaving family, the sacrifices of living in a country that is not your own, etc.  Yet, this brings things to a whole new level.  I remember just before leaving the USA having to make sure that I had all the legal paperwork in place.  At the somewhat  tender age of 34 (depends on your perspective) I’m having to contemplate my death.

Am I ready to face that?  Am I really in a place that I can say, “If I die tomorrow, I’ll be happy with the legacy I’ve left? Have I made an impact for His Kingdom instead of my own ambitions?”

So many questions that have no good answers.  All I know is this; Jesus has called me and His call is this: “Take up your cross and follow me.” *  Being a disciple of Christ is not for the faint of heart, for we are told unless we are willing to give up everything we cannot be called His disciples. Luke 14:26-33

Then why do it?  Because the eternal is greater than the temporal.  What is gained is impossible to measure against what is lost.  We are made for the eternal and this life is but a brief dot at the beginning.  I choose to invest in the eternal where I will spend the majority of my life, rather than making sure I’m comfortable in this short time I will be on the earth.  St. Paul puts it this way “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…”

Looking death in the face is not fun, but I have the hope of eternity with Him.  My goal is to “…have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by Life or by death.  For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.Philippians 1:20-21

*Matthew 16:24-27, Mark 8:34-38, Luke 9:23-26

Walking the walk…

“Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior…” Mighty to Save, Hillsong

I had to work on extending forgiveness this afternoon. As I got off the matatu coming home from church, a couple of guys stopped and asked for directions. I gave them and started walking as they began to drive off. However they stopped again, and I was shocked at their request if there was a brothel in the area. A very real case of the heebie-jeebies started as I quickly replied no and walked away. Imagine my horror as they then propositioned me! Again, I told them no, and walked even faster down the hill towards home. I chalked it up to another “adventure of living in a foreign country” and posted a reference about it on Facebook and Twitter.

Yet somehow I couldn’t quite forget about it, and especially as they passed by me again. So as I turned the corner and started walking up the hill, I wondered what I could do if they approached me again. “Would they snatch me?” was definitely a thought that crossed my mind. I believe God led me to call my friend I’d texted about the encounter, for just as the call was answered, the two pervs ruffians slowly passed me again. Thank heaven I was within sight of the house, and my friend stayed on the phone until I walked through the gate.  I dumped my stuff in my room and went over to the Omondi’s house. I shared the encounter, and they asked if I’d gotten the plate number of the car. I’d unfortunately only noted the first half, definitely not enough. Diane then prayed protection for me and Mercy (who heard my tale as she was there washing dishes) and for my peace of mind.

Later Mercy and I, along with her brother Jesse, decided to walk to the neighborhood center to take my shoes to the cobbler for repair and her blouse to the tailor. On our way, we saw the guys again, and got the plate number. So I decided I’d report them to at our community police station. As we were approaching the station, we saw them again! My mind was definitely made up, as I was thinking they could be a danger to women in the area. My report was taken seriously, and the police went out to patrol and see if the perps were still around.

After I got home, the song we sang at church during the offering started playing in my head. “Everyone needs forgiveness…” God was working on my heart, these goons would only hold power over me as long as I let them. To be free, I had to forgive them. I love how God loves me so much, that He won’t let me live outside of His true freedom. So I broke that chain, avoided the enemy’s trap, and loosed myself into the liberty of Christ provided through forgiveness.

Yes, I have some interesting adventures as a missionary, some I would prefer not to have. However, I wouldn’t give up this walk with God for anything else. Thank you to all of you who sow generously into my life and make it possible. May God give you a rich and abundant harvest for your faithfulness.

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