Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In School

Part of my job, (which is a really great job by the way) is to plan, implement, and follow up on what we refer to as tours. What that seems to mean is that I meet folks who are not from the USA and race with them across the USA to talk to just about anyone who will listen and tell the incredible true stories of what God is doing in their part of His world.  The days run together and the travel can be exhausting, all while the stories go deeper and deeper into my heart.
I recently decided that actually this might be God's way of putting me into just the school He knows I need. I get to sit quietly listening to the stories of faith in action over and over again. I don't think He is grading me, but I do know He is expecting me to be teachable and learn something in the middle of all the meetings. Also I get a great opportunity to ask questions about the truths I am discovering from the folks who are telling the stories of faith. It is an unending adventure in which I regularly discover my own tiny bit of faith being stretched far beyond what I ever imagined.

In March I met my friend Mercy and her translator, Faustina in New York City to being a month on the road. Mercy is a courageous young woman who comes to tell her story about living in slavery for over 16 years in a remote West African village. We have traveled together before and I was so happy to welcome her back to the USA. While planning for our first overnight, my daughter found a great internet rate at a beautiful old hotel that would work for us to find food after the long travel and have easy access to transport the next day. No driving in NYC for me! Going to the Roosevelt in the middle of Manhattan during a rainstorm, I stood dripping wet in the beautiful lobby trying to check into the room. As the desk clerk began the process she commented on how lovely and unusual Mercy's name was. "She is a freed slave who got to choose her own name when she was released," I quietly relayed. Tears rolled down the cheeks of this sweet lady's face. "Let me see about a different room for her" she said looking at the computer screen. Marcia went on to ask me if there was any way to help the fight for freedom in Mercy's part of the world. Oh yes! Over 3,000 women and their children are free but there are many more waiting without hope. That is why I am here meeting the ladies at the airport. We are always wanting to tell of the plight of girls like Mercy, given as an atonement for the sins of the family into a lifetime of servitude.
When I got the keys to our room, rode the elevator up to the 14th floor and saw the fabulous upgraded 2 room/ 2 bath suite on the corner of 45th Street, the tears would not stop. Mercy was not even in the USA and the way was being prepared for her. How lavishly God poured out blessing as this brave soul got on a plane to fly to the other side of the world in order to plead for women and children still caught in bondage. The tour began with reminders for me about His watch care. I hope that lesson went deep into my being!
It is possible to check out this grand hotel for yourself if you would like. I wish I had taken more pictures, but the website has plenty to give the feel of this amazing place.

Just in case I was not getting the message, I had lesson #2. As I got back to the lobby, I was confused about which of the many doors to go out for the fastest way to my daughter's apartment. Remember it was pouring rain, cold and windy. The guy at the elevators in a hotel uniform seemed the most logical to ask for directions. He was gracious enough to give instructions to help me get on my way. As we ended our conversation, I commented that he had a great accent. "Where are you from?" "Ghana" he replied. "GHANA?! I am hear to prepare for some ladies to arrive from Ghana in a few hours at Kennedy Airport. A woman and her translator are coming. She is from the remote Volta region and only speaks her tribal language."
Can you already guess the end of this story? Foster is also from the Volta region, has lived in New York for over 20 years, but speaks the same language and wanted to bring greetings to the ladies. We exchanged phone numbers and although he was not working the next day he called to welcome Mercy to the USA in her own language. Many times as we traveled that month, Faustina and Mercy told the story of their great welcome to the USA.

For many years I have prayed to affirm the promises in Psalm 139. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 

 The tour began with affirmation that we were in exactly the place prepared for us before hand. The Lord Jesus who rescued Mercy from the depths of despair was watching over us, hemming us in, preparing the way. Thank you Father for showing it clearly to the one with little faith.
I believe, help my unbelief.

Faustina, myself, and Mercy at a church in Michigan the next weekend. Would you like to hear more? Check out innetworkusa.org
Look for the Trokosi of West Africa link