Thursday, October 6, 2016
“There is no such thing as a coincidence. You will feel this before you know it.” ― Linda Westphal
I have written before that I don’t believe in coincidence, but here’s just one example of why that’s so. We had been here only three years and returned to the U.S. for one month in 2008. I had 26 speaking engagements in thirty days all over Arkansas and managed to squeeze in time with my mother and siblings as well as my children and grandchild. Karen flew to Los Angeles during this time to see her brother and spoke at Pilgrim’s Place, a housing complex just for retired missionaries. There she met a couple who had been missionaries in the Congo and whose son, a Baptist living in South Carolina, wanted to come to Africa and lead a mission trip. His parents told him about Karen and that son made contact with her and the next year, he and his wife brought a group of about twelve mission workers here to Maisha Na Maji. They did some work here on the mission, but since they were Baptists and there is a Baptist church just 200 yards from our front gate, they did most of their mission work with the Baptist Church here but slept and ate here with us. Chris and Cami (the husband and wife) were and are professional photographers and had many amazing pictures from their safari. Chris also took the picture at the right of our worker Edina, who has been with us for eleven years and still smiles and laughs as Chris portrayed her. Chris and Cami (who came here because Karen “accidentally” met Chris’s parents in Los Angeles) came back with another group a couple of years later, and a member of their first group has been back several times to work with the Baptist Church in Bunda. Chris and Cami have a thriving photography business in South Carolina (hope the hurricane spares you) and we have been good friends ever since. However, it goes farther than that, as we are more than just friends since Chris had parents who were missionaries not far from here, and since Cami just fell in love with us and our work. When they were here, they were smiling all the time (see the picture of Chris with kids and the one of Cami with Karen on my Facebook post today). Cami reads the blog every day with frequent comments and sends us packages at least two or three times a year. She always includes tee shirts for the staff and special Southern food mixes for us as well as a Charleston Chew or two. They have supported us financially as well, sending money for our work here several times a year and sending money to help with both Karen’s and my medical bills. You couldn’t have better friends or stronger supporters in your corner. Why? — because Karen flew to Los Angeles and spoke at a retired missionaries lunch where she met Chris’s parents. A coincidence? I think not. I think God got involved both for our sake and for Chris and Cami’s. Who knew some of our most faithful and strongest supporters would be Baptists that we had never met before they arrived in Tanzania? We instantly we became friends forever (amigos para siempre) tied by the strings of our souls. God is still at work in the lives of everyone who will let Him and some who don’t even want Him involved. Never underestimate the power of God to work in ways that we will never understand. That’s why others have the word “coincidence” in their vocabularies. They don’t want to believe in a God who is actively involved in everyday life, but He is! We love Chris and Cami and so do our workers and many, many Tanzanians. That is no accident.