Saturday, October 07, 2006

The beginning of the story

I need to begin at the beginning even though I would like to start with what is going on now. My wife (Arwen) and I were called to go to Gondor but no one from our organization was there and we really did not know how to get there so we went to Rohan. I taught English in Rohan for a year and a half. During that time we strategized about how to get to Gondor and we began learning the language. Arwen learned it beautifully and I failed miserably in those early years but that is for another post.
Also during this time we came face to face with culture shock. Rohan is not like the west. But more than culture shock was the constant spirit of fear that pervaded the place. I had been a pastor in the West and now I was afraid to share that information with anyone because of fear of what people would think. All fear is from the enemy except the fear of Him whom we serve. I will write more on fear another time. We arrived in January and our house was cold and the girls got the chicken pocks in the first week and there was nothing in the bazaars that looked like food to us. Many nights I cooked up french fries for dinner and we seriously wondered if our oldest daughter would starve to death without chicken McNuggets. This began to take its toll on our relationships. My two daughters got depressed and by the end of summer my wife and I were speaking to each other in short sentences that were never edifying. By the beginning of October my wife had a permanant headache and a small knot on the back of her neck that we later learned was cramped muscle. Stress was an undeniable reality that was consuming us.
One day I was walking through the city and pondering how truly miserable I was when a bus went by. I thought that I could perhaps pretend to stumble and fall beneath the bus and all this would be over. It was shocking how appealing that thought was. I kept walking and with tears in my eyes I told the Lord that it didn't matter if I was ever going to be happy again. It didn't matter if I ever had relations with my wife again. It didn't matter if I was ever going to be effective at my job in this society. I was not going to quit. I was going to serve Him in exactly the way He called me to serve Him regardless of personal fulfillment. I was completely broken and that my friends is where we need to be if we would see Him move. It totally prepared me for what was next on our journey.
Of course, as eternal as that Fall seemed it did end and we went on vacation. The best vacation we had ever had and we learned to laugh and love and play together all over again only much better and much deeper. I wish I could say that one breaking was all I needed but I have found that while Jesus was broken once on the cross and found eternal victory we need to be broken again and again. The victory is so worth it however that James even says we are to rejoice whenever the breakings come. He is right.

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