Well, it has been a challenging week. At work, our team has been working diligently on a very important case, and has run into some disappointing delays. We pray together daily for confidence in God’s timing, but it is a struggle. On the home front, we’ve encountered homesickness and some quite normal (but not particularly welcome) feelings of adjustment. And on the (way back) home front in Austin, we’ve learned our email and our bank account were hacked, and someone with a freedom project of their own tried to liberate all the funds from our Austin checking account. The bank has been very helpful restoring funds and helping us ensure new precautions are in place, but many late nights were spent resetting passwords, changing accounts, and negotiating with fraud personnel on the other side of the ocean. In case you were wondering, this isn’t as much fun as spending late nights watching old West Wing episodes on our DVD player. (We’ve tried both this month – take our word for it.) Add a few of the hormonal delights one might expect from the mid-forties set, and it was…yes, a challenging week.
Here is the good news – God’s mercies are fresh every day. I read this in the blog of an amazing new friend of ours now with IJM in Ghana. Actually, I was in bed feeling sorry for myself while I read from her about God’s fresh mercies. (Spoiler alert: among other things, they got actual THANK YOU notes from their kids – we haven’t, and aren’t holding our breath. Spoiler alert #2: she is grateful for a washing machine. I’m feeling like a heel, because I’ve had one all along.) After sifting through my shame at not seeing the mercies more quickly, and pondering on this for a day or two, I am finally working my way to seeing, and being grateful for, where God’s mercy has been in our lives this week. Here is what I’ve got so far:
1) Without help from my parents in Austin and God’s gift to my mother of superhuman attention to detail, I would not have known about the trouble with my bank account in time to stop the fraudulent payments from being made. I have never paid as much attention to my bank account as my mother has in the last month. Without the interest and kindness of my techno-savvy brother, I wouldn’t have known how to fix my email. Blessings.
2) Without an IJM friend showing me how to get phone credit on Skype – the VERY day this all broke – I would not have had a way to call my bank internationally and actually begin to work this out with a live person. Blessings.
3) Without friends and family praying for me when I was too stuck to pray for myself, I would have absolutely withered. While all of this has been going on, I have felt the power of prayer. Truly. I have friends I can text in the middle of the night (ok, their day!) and know that they will pray while I sleep. What an amazing gift! I hit a wave of despair this week and a reminder for a Session meeting popped up on my phone – a reminder to reach out to trusted, faithful people and ask for prayer. And truly, within hours, I felt lighter. I had several moments this week when I thought about an old friend, and within the hour, a message from them popped up on my WhatsApp, Facebook, or email. As marginal as I am in the grand scheme of life, intercessory prayer, when I didn’t have the words or the courage to pray for myself, helped me this week. Blessings. Mercies.
4) On a much more practical note, I now know where and how to get to the one market where I can find Rice Krispies and Bisquick. I know where to get fresh mangoes and how much they should cost in another currency. I know where I can buy fresh vegetables that are unlikely to be infected with “biological pathogens” and it is only 1 block from my apartment. Yes, three different markets, but I can find them – in CAMBODIA. Mercies.
5) I have made friends with my morning tuk tuk driver, and my afternoon tuk tuk driver, and they know exactly where I want to go without me saying a word. My afternoon tuk tuk driver has a little 18-month-old girl and today she wanted to see all the things in my bag – my sunglasses (peek-a-boo), my colored pen (matching happy faces on our hands). What a reminder of how beautiful and similar life is in every country. Blessings. Mercies. Please pray that she will be able to grow up and go to school and get a good job in her own country so she won’t be so vulnerable to trafficking.
6) Laughter. There is little boy laughter in my house right now. Even in Cambodia, away from all their friends. Blessings.
7) Provisions. My husband is home from work before 6:00 pm – every day! Often cooking dinner! He is present, he is inspired, he is using his gifts to stop slavery, and he is in his glory. Blessings and Mercies.
8) There is a Carl’s Jr. two blocks away that makes a good, American-style, barbecue hamburger. It’s become a Saturday night treat for the Kildays. Blessings.
9) I have been in a pit of sorrow and hormones and worry, and God has given me a way out – through and because of many of you. And I am grateful. For as little as I can contribute to His grand work toward justice in this place, I am grateful for the chance.
I have a little sign next to my mirror that I look at every morning. I picked it up in England at Shakespeare’s church in Stratford-Upon-Avon right after we found out we had made it to the second interview with IJM and were being considered for a spot in Cambodia. It says, “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions be louder than your words.” This is my prayer for all of us.
Please keep praying. We need you.
God’s blessings and mercies we wish and pray for each of you. I've got my game face (back) on! Amen.