There is almost so much, I don't know where to start. Forgive me if I struggle to make sense. The beginning of a story seems the most natural place, so I will do just that.
Matt's first few rounds of the current chemotherapy protocol was tough. It laid him out for a couple of days. This reaction prompted him to cancel all but two previous engagements on his fall schedule. There were some huge opportunities and events that he had to unfortunately decline. This all happened in the spring. At the end of June, we found out there were some openings on a Village Church team trip to Sudan. With an historical referendum coming up in January, we knew this would be our best shot at visiting this country. We accepted the positions only three months away from the departure date.
There was a part of me that wasn't sure it would pan out for me. Maybe it was that subconscious piece that protects my heart from pain. I really wanted to go.
As the trip details starting to take shape, I realized I would be among three women who would be teaching a women's conference--a first for our sister church in Sudan. I would not consider myself a teacher. Honestly, I just don't know if I am or not. I've had very few opportunities to exercise that gift. I am much more comfortable singing or leading worship. However, even that comfort has come with a decade of using that gift. Either way, I was needing to prepare to teach biblical womanhood to a group of women with whom I had little in common culturally. I knew I could get by with sharing thoughts about biblical womanhood with women whose lives looked like mine but what on earth would I have to offer these women??
I felt the Lord saying to me (often through others) that He had prepared me in advance and would give me everything I would need. He delivered.
My friend Dawntoya Thomason and I (the third woman was unable to make the trip) taught 20 Sudanese women biblical womanhood 5 hours a day for 5 days. Teaching stretched and challenged me more than anything I'd ever experienced in such a short amount of time. I have never felt the Lord nearer. In the States, I can start off with time in the Word and quickly go on with my life, "leaving" Him at my dining room table. In Sudan, I had to depend on Him for every word, every breath, every step. I felt Him upholding me constantly. I am grateful for your prayers because I KNOW they were working something amazing! In our first session, two women came to faith. Praise the Lord!
Though we had to communicate via interpreter, the Lord communicated His truth to the hearts of our hearers. They were so grateful to receive instruction. It was life to them. Simple truths that we who've grown up in the church take for granted were treasured gems to these women. Knowing they were created in the image of God brought new meaning to their life. Knowing they were created for the glory of God brought greater purpose to their everyday. Knowing they were created for fellowship with God brought a profound peace.
I want to share with you a few of these faces. Will you pray that the Word taught to them will have found fertile soil in their hearts?
There's still much more to share. Stay tuned...