Lord, What Have We Done?

girl at sunset

A voiceless thought hovers

with tear-tired eyes

as the plane lifts from Africa’s soil.

Three years packed into six bags

back across the ocean

to our new unknown.

Amid scattered shoes

and crinkled clothes

in overstuffed suitcases

Doubt

like an early morning fog

makes its home in our mind.

No longer unspoken

the words burst forth

“Lord, what have we done?”

-Debbie Crawford

How have you handled second guessing decisions you have made?

No Regrets

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A Gift from Our Small Group

As I reflect upon our past three years in South Africa I can confidently write that we have no regrets. God has grown us, challenged us and used us in many ways:

As a husband and wife we have drawn closer to each other than we were before. Now, I know those of you who REALLY know us have to be thinking how far apart we must have been before we moved to South Africa if what you have seen in us is what we call “being closer than before”. It seems being in a different country exasperates issues we already had before moving here. I hope I haven’t tarnished anyone’s thoughts of missionaries having a perfect marriage. A different title doesn’t make us any godlier. We are still sinners living in a fallen world.

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Dinner with Joseph and Wilheminah

When we first arrived we did not have any close friendships. We prayed for God to bring us another couple that we could pray, laugh, cry and grow in the Lord together. God answered that prayer with Joseph and Wilheminah Mahlaola. During Doug’s time at seminary I would go to Wilheminah to cry on her shoulder when Doug was so frustrated and Joseph would drop in on Doug to encourage him. From that a friendship formed that God ordained. We don’t see black or white, South African or American; we are just brothers and sisters in Christ desiring to glorify the Lord in all that we do.

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Love the younger women God has put in my life!

Speaking of friendship, God has blessed me with other women who have come alongside me to encourage me by their pursuit of living for the Lord. Each of you should know who you are. I hope you have received from me as much as I have received from you.

As missionaries, we learned what missionary work means to us. There are different types of missionaries and mission organizations. The mission organization we were a part of  just wasn’t the right fit for us. Does that mean our time here was a waste? Of course not. We taught men and women in Mozambique and Zimbabwe God’s word. I was blessed to be able to teach the women at Christ Baptist Church and Doug, along with Joseph, shared the gospel through the book of John with a group of workers outside Polokwane. We served in our church wherever we could and have been richly fed with God’s word from the Pastors of CBC. We are better equipped now in pursuing other missionary work if the Lord allows us to continue His work in a different area.

As for God, through his faithfulness we have learned to trust. Sometimes it is two steps forward and one back but we truly know He is sovereign over our lives. He has provided, comforted, exhorted and encouraged us through His word and our brothers and sisters in Christ here in South Africa and back home in the states.

With some of our dear Polokwane friends.

With some of our dear Polokwane friends

Only God knows if our paths will cross again with our friends in Polokwane but for sure as followers of Christ we will be united in Heaven. This world isn’t our home anyway.

Much love from us to our fellow pilgrims.

How was God your help as you left a place of ministry? 

Gift of a Handmade Rug

Rosinah's Handmade Rug

Rosinah’s Handmade Rug

A few weeks ago we went to say goodbye to our friends’ parents at the village of Seabe in South Africa. My favorite dearly loved Gogo, Rosinah Mahlaola, presented me with this beautiful round rug that is made out of plastic bags. I can’t imagine how long a project like that takes but it certainly is a wonderful use for those plastic bags that quickly pile up on us. I wish I would have had time for her to teach me how it is done.

At the village of Makumeke we saw children making kites out of sticks and plastic bags. This would be a great craft to do with children on a mission trip especially if you use materials that they have available where they live.

Of course, with Pinterest, I found instructions for making these rugs: It takes 150 plastic bags.

There is so much more you can make with plastic bags: totes, sandals and plastic bag keepers.

Right now as we pack our plastic bags are coming in handy for wrapping breakables.

Do you know of an interesting use for plastic bags?