Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Update Letter

Hello my friends!

It has been nine months since Sarah and I got home and nearly that long since you received anything in the way of updates from me. This has probably been a relief to the email inboxes of many of you, while others may be wondering where in the world I went. I've been around, but for once in my life had very little to say. Now, coming to the other side of what I think of as a "desert" season in my life, what I have learned through immense struggle can be summarized in a few verses from the pen of Paul.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus might also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

You may remember that when I first got home I was hoping to be back in Africa within a few months, but God seemed to say no to that desire and asked me to stay. And even though I knew He was right, I was still angry with Him. I felt betrayed somehow... as if God had played a cruel joke on me, leading to a place and breaking my heart for it, then calling me out and keeping me there. This wasn't the only issue. I also felt deep guilt over some choices I had made and thought of myself as a failure and disappointment to God. Satan jumped on all these things and began doing his utmost to break me down... throwing in my face everything he possibly could and making me feel worthless... a failure... crushed by guilt. However, I could not let on that I struggled. There was my foolish pride to contend with... I am supposed to have it all together, right?

I had gotten my own apartment in Fargo and started a job in the NICU at Meritcare. Right away I knew that's where I needed to be because I was learning SO much, but I still didn't like it. Yet even though I was angry with the Lord and my heart was broken in more places than I knew existed, He was still working... guiding... speaking... loud enough so that I would HEAR Him. I can be incredibly impatient and have the consistent yearning to back back overseas right now... yesterday in fact:). However, my time in the NICU has shown me how much there is to learn, and how valuable experience and education could be in the future in a third world country. He began to give me a desire to go back to school to get a Masters in Nurse Midwifery, and I started actively searching for schools. It has been a 3-month long process and quite a roller coaster ride of options, but I believe I'm on a course now that is actually going to happen and is the right one. Though not set in stone, the current plan is to enlist in the Air Force as a nurse beginning either in August or in October. There are many reasons for the Air Force (and I'm sure many more which I cannot see now...), one of which is the fact that they pay for a huge chunk of graduate school. I will most likely be stationed in San Antonio and work in the NICU there. In January I will begin studying through an online program and after 3 years will be finished with my Air Force contract and have the degree I long for. I have made it sound very simple in these few sentences, but in reality I am quite terrified about the whole thing. But I know it's right. Somehow it's precisely because of the fear that I know it's right.

A few weeks ago I was talking to good friends Nick and Troy... telling them how much I miss my best friend. They prayed for me and said "Ginna, go after Him." I've been going after Him... giving Him my frustrations and my fears, my doubts and my failures. Giving Him the broken jar of clay that is me and trusting that He will fill me again with the treasure that is Him. I feel like I'm coming out of the desert... not understanding my Lord ANY more than when I went it (in fact, filled with tons more questions than I've ever had before) but loving Him... OH, loving Him and experiencing His love in a completely new and wonderful way. You know what I think is strange? We all try so hard to avoid pain because it is, to state the obvious, so painful. But really it is only through pain and struggle that we grow. And I need to add that in the midst of this spiritual struggle I've experienced in a new way how beautiful that body of Christ really is. Through many highs and even more very low lows I've been loved by everyone around me so deeply and purely it has often made me cry. Thank you. I can't say that enough.

So if you wonder if the year in Mozambique was just a one time thing my answer is... I HOPE NOT!!! I want to devote my entire life to working in the poorest parts of the world. Maybe Africa... maybe somewhere else... Asia? The Middle East? I'll go anywhere. The coming three years will be further preparation, and I'm excited about this new season!

Please keep praying for Mozambique. Pray for Carlos and Pascua, their 3 girls, Rubatano Home Based Care, all of the patients and volunteers, the baby clinic and the mission. Two of Sarah's friends are nurses who are beginning the Footprints program. They are being trained in South Africa right now and will be going to Mozambique this Sunday, living in our house and driving our faithful Toyota. I'm THRILLED. More than a little bit jealous, but thrilled all the same:).

A few friends and I are going to be running the Chicago marathon for World Vision again this year! I'm excited to once again have the amazing opportunity to raise funds for children in Africa.

If you want to check in on me from time to time I do update my blog quite regularly...

God bless you,

P.S. Please pray with me, fervently, for the people of Myanmar.

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