Living in Limbo

chair at houseOur walls are bare. I find no use in putting up pictures if they will only be taken down again in a few months. We sit on unfamiliar furniture that has been loaned to us by gracious family and friends. We drive one friend’s vehicle one week and then maybe another family member’s the next week. Nothing is ours. We are living in limbo.

The Oxford Dictionary defines limbo as an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition. That is where we find ourselves now: waiting for God to confirm to us where He would have us to be next. Have you ever played Limbo? It is the game where a bar is held and you bend backwards to pass under the bar. I’d much rather be doing that kind of limbo than this limbo.

Yet there are blessings in limbo:

-the provision of a small apartment to rent instead of having to live out of a suitcase at a family member’s or friend’s house.

-a vehicle to drive instead of having to rely on others to get us places.

-the provision of furniture, appliances and dishes from others so that we didn’t have to purchase very much.

Right now those are material blessings but I know that one day I will be able to write of the spiritual blessings of this limbo period as well. For now though my desire to know our future and be impatient with God outweighs the spiritual growth, that “good” that Romans 8:28 talks about. As that passage continues His word tells us His goal is to conform me to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). The Bible is filled with many examples of those who had to wait on the Lord. I pray that I would be found as faithful as those saints of old.

Have you ever lived in limbo? How did you handle it?

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?