I took a walk down memory lane this week! I had forgotten about a colossal part of my story until I was reminded in a prayer letter from friends who went through this part of the journey with us. It will take a few Monday mornings to get it in written form…so watch for the second installment on Monday of next week…
Shortly after Ralph and I surrendered our lives to missions, we found ourselves driving north from the University to Fredonia, Wisconsin to begin our boot camp training in preparation for ministry abroad. As we approached our destination we could see miles and miles of farmland with quaint picturesque country houses and barns scattered here and there across the massive landscape. It was beautiful. It had the rural charm of yesteryear. This city girl was enthusiastically taking it all in until…
We exited our car as a woman moving in a great hurry met us! She introduced herself and quickly instructed us to follow her to the over-sized basement of the adjoining property where we found several others involved in canning (?) countless fruits and vegetables from the garden they had just harvested!
To my amazement, these experienced workers kindly assumed that I knew what they were doing and handed me a large spoon, told me “to skim the foam off the top” and with this one line of communication…they left me to it! I took a quick survey of the assembly line they had formed in this large room and began to take note of what each person was doing to get to where I was. I was one stop before the contents went into a sterile jar!
Hours later, after being shifted to different stations, Ralph and I found ourselves carrying our suitcases into the two story building next door. Relieved to be heading toward our new home for the next nine months, we commented on the unusually long hall and wooden floor. Immediately, upon entering the building, we were led to the left, directly upstairs and into an 11 ft. x 18 ft. open room.
Other families were arriving and our host quickly left us to settle in. We stood in the nearly empty room and realized we were in a dormitory where we all used a men and women’s bathroom at the end of that long hall and any water needed for cooking would be hand carried down that same hall and then, disposed of in a well 100 yards behind our building! I never realized how much water we used each day!
After about two weeks, our little room became a welcomed sanctuary, as we began to process all we were learning. As the semester came to a close, I found myself looking forward to Christmas break and a trip to California to be with family. The day before we were to leave, Ralph, who NEVER gets sick, began running a high fever. We woke up in the night to find he had turned into a chipmunk! He had, somehow, contracted mumps! That next morning, I stood at the dorm entry, distressed, waving good-bye to everyone in the dorm, as they threw their suitcases into the trunk of their cars and merrily drove out of the lengthy driveway to parts unknown. I wished them well in my heart and resolved myself to gratefully caring for my very sick husband. I had much to learn that day and the days that followed. God counted me VERY special that Christmas holiday! My expectations were not as important as the lessons I would learn from being left behind. I was to miss many Christmas’ with family over the years spent in Panama.
Our introduction to Boot Camp was not what I had expected, the accommodations were not what I had envisioned and the scheduled Christmas break was not what I had planned. My expectations had deceitfully left me in a ditch of disappointment. Contentment was eluded on the altar of my pending rights!
Was this part of my journey what I had expected, envisioned or planned? NOT!
Expectation + disappointment = Immaturity
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29: 11
GOD had a better plan and His appointments often involve perplexing circumstances that are given with purpose to give us more light and to grow us up. His vision for us is maturity. His expectation is that we will harmonize with His plan and be the profitable servant He has called us to be for the cross of Christ.
Are you facing disappointments today?
The manifestation of an unrealized expectation
is usually exposed by our anger!
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.