Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whitney lays her stone atop the Cairn where BJ rests in North Africa
Lauren pauses a final time to say goodbye in a special way, before returning to the USA

The view from the can just make out the edge of our host city as it wraps around the mountain to the right.
When BJ passed, away the weeks and months after were very painful. While we knew that through that time God was being glorified, we often tried to make sense of what had happened. This is not easy to do. Clear answers do not always bring the desired comfort. The brokeness is searing and deep.
We began to realize that God was calling us to return to a land, first visited by my father at the end of his military career. I did not want to go. We did not want to go. We went, because God called us to do so.
It was a Muslim land where it was illegal to share the Gospel. While we were there, we met one believer who had been persecuted by his government and jailed on many occasions. Conditions in the prisons there are far below humane. Overcrowding is a term far too friendly for what they actually experience.
We knew we were there at the call of our Lord. We saw little fruit of our effort along the way. that did not stop the Lord from breaking the hearts of many on our team and placing a deep seeded call within them.
For us, it was a trip filled with many mixed emotions. We began the journey by having a Praise and Worship service (planned by our missionary contacts who live in the village in the above picture) where we also built a cairn. I laid the bottom stone and them poured out BJ's ashes upon it. Deanna came and placed a stone upon it. Then Lauren came and did likewise. So did Whitney, followed by two students from BJ's last Peru team. Then each of the team came and did likewise, each sharing scripture before laying their stone.
It was a precious time of worship for our family.
Building this cairn and leaving behind our son was symbolic to us of the days ahead. To us it was about hope for the future. Hope for this village and many others that could be seen from this mountain. Hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. Our missionary contacts believed that this Hope would begin in their village. The one God had planted them in.
During our entire summer in this land, we saw one person come to Christ. We knew this was not a trip about the harvest, but about breaking up the ground and planting seed. We were obedient. We were most thankful that God had allowed us to be there and to see Him work the way He did.
One of the men that worked with us was a gentle man. I will call him "Nathan." He was very humble and came from a Muslim family. He had heard the Gospel many times from many other workers who came to assist our missionary contacts. Out of respect to his father, he did not want to make a decision for Christ. He wanted to wait until one day when his father had passed.
I remember sharing with him from the depths of my own heart. He knew my pain. He sought to bring me solace on more than one occasion. I told him of Jesus and the difference He could make in his life and that of his father (who was ill). He would make no decision.
Many times since that trip I have pondered all that happened and why it had happened. On many occasions I have shared in churches, on college campuses and on the radio that our decision to leave BJ behind was a symbol of the Hope that country would one day come to Christ. We felt God had led us to leave this symbol of hope behind. We knew it encouraged our contacts.
Last night I received word through one of our teammates who had just met with our missionary contacts who happened to be in his church for a missions conference.
Our contacts are a couple who retired from business here in the USA and then headed off to this land to live and serve because God had called them there...after retirement.
He told us a story that I have shared before. He knew a man that tilled ground on a mountainside. Land his family had owned for generations. He tilled the land and planted seed.
His pursuit was in vain. He was far from a water source and it never rains in this land. When our contact asked this man why he continued to plant seed knowing it would not rain and therefore the seed could not germinate and produce anything, his reply echoed into our hearts.
He said, "Perhaps it will rain! There is always hope!"
This phrase shaped our contacts ministry there in a desolate land without much hope.
On our last day in that country, we spent it in that village. God sent the rain. It poured unbelievable amounts. We left with hope of what God might do.
Last night, I was told that in that village that BJ's cairn overlooks... where hope resides... three churches have been established! My friend "Nathan" is pastoring one of them!!!
I know these have to be underground house churches as it remains illegal to be Christian in this land. I Praise God for His provision of Hope and His attention to this place. He cares for the hopeless and lost. Though we may forget them, He does not!
This is miraculous and needs to be celebrated!!! Thank you Jesus!!!
To even be a small part of this story is so incredibly humbling! To know God has a plan and is working through that plan in this desolate land where there has been no rain and no hope is invigorating as a believer.
If we will walk in His obedience, He is faithful in His timing to bring not just hope, but restoration!
Thank you Jesus, and Praise your Holy Name!!!


At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three Churches!!!!

Amazing to watch how the Lord's hand moves!

A harvest does not come immediately - every farmer knows this & we so often forget as we walk through our circumstances ordained by Him to draw us near, glorify Himself, and do His will!

Oh, I just love to hear you tell of His work!

Psalm 126

"When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

So much here!

He has done great things for you! We have seen it!

WE have laughted & rejoiced with you. (wept as well)

Do it again, and again, and again, Lord!

Sounds like promises doesn't it?

"Those who sow in tears WILL reap with songs of joy".

"He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, WILL return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

How incredibly exciting to hear of the churches...Nathan...and the DOWNPOUR in a land that was dry!!

Thank you for sharing His work with us again!

Much love & prayers,

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


With tears, all I can say is THANK YOU! God is moving...

With love,


At 7:20 PM, Blogger Hopeful Pediatric Oncology Nurse said...

Oh man, that brought back old memories. Memories of laying Becky's gravestone, and how my sister couldn't be there. It was my sister's best friend who had died from cancer. I was young back then, but because my church was so close, and so close to that family, everyone was there for her funeral and laying of the gravestone and her ashes. It was a hard time back then. It was about a year before BJ's death.
I hadn't been close, as I am with most that have died and I just wasn't intune with, but they leave such a big hole in my heart, and it gets harder and harder to refill it. I never knew BJ, but it sure has left a big hole i my heart knowing he's gone, and Becky... and Terri.

There's a lot that I don't understand, a lot I don't get, why this all has to happen, even if I give an answer to someone, but it is all confusing to me. And I just don't seem to be doing very well in my walk with God. I've tried, but I fall all over again and can't get back up. It's frustrating, and I'm losing it... fast. That's probably why I come here. To give me something to help me, other than just God's hand.
That may sound weird, but it helps me, especially when I'm really depressed right now.

As always, I pray for you, Higgin's family. Whenever I can, a pray goes to God for you. I don't know what it is like to lose a child, to lose a sibling, to lose someone sooo close, but I can only imagine, which isn't much.

In Christ,

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

It IS being celebrated, here and in heaven!

You are making a difference. BJ's life, ministry and message are making/have made a difference. Our Father is doing His Kingdom work, of which the Higgins are blessedly a part.

Like my sister in prayer, I go to the Psalms:

"Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, And praise Him at the seat of the elders. . . . He changes a wilderness into a pool of water And a dry land into springs of water; And there He makes the hungry to dwell, So that they may establish an inhabited city, And sow fields and plant vineyards, And gather a fruitful harvest. . . . Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things, And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD."
(Ps. 107:31-35, 43).

Praising Him for these fresh streams in the desert--remembering the work laid before you even now.

with tender love
and prayers in pink,



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