Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Turkana woman and child, selling tribal made charcoal, in Kenya

Today, we continue with Becky's story. She currently serves in Kenya, as a missionary. After graduating from high school, at 18, she followed God's call to go. Who among us is He calling to do likewise?

Right before I stepped on the rickety wooden stage, my youth pastor prayed for me. As he prayed, I truly believe I heard the voice of God for the first time in my life. It was not a voice booming from the heavens that I heard, it was more of a gentle whisper that said, “Tell the Beach Story.” It was the strangest thing that I had ever experienced in my life, and I had no idea what to do as I stepped up on the stage and grasped the microphone in my hand. It felt like I had a million thoughts buzzing through my brain at that very moment. What am I going to do? I do not even really remember that story. What if I make a fool out of myself in front of all these people? I am supposed to be a perfect smart girl, and they always follow the plan. I took a deep breath and remembered my prayer, crumpled up my planned testimony, and started to tell a story I did not remember or understand.

One day when I was little, my parents, my two younger brothers, and I decided to
go to the beach on one of the hottest days of the year. My sister was visiting a friend, so I was the oldest kid there and could not be more proud. As we spread our towels out on the hot sand, my father gave my brothers and I the routine talk about the rules. He told me not to swim past my waist and babbled on like most overprotective fathers do. I did not think much of it, and I decided to run off and play, my two little brothers trailing behind me. We had so much fun building sand castles, playing volleyball, and just being goofy kids. Eventually I decided that it was time to dip our toes in the water, after all it was very hot outside. My two little brothers followed me into the water as I began to look for seashells in the shallow end. We laughed carefree as the wind blew through our hair.

It was nice for me to get away from everything and just enjoy myself. After a while of wading in the shallow end of the water, I decided to go out a little deeper to find bigger shells. My brothers, of course, were trailing behind me. John, my youngest brother who was 4, was completely covered in sand and could not stop laughing or smiling at me. Tim on the other hand, had a quirky buck tooth grin of contentment. It felt so good to finally be the oldest and have my little brothers look up to me. As my brothers playfully wrestled around in the sand, my mind began to drift as I watched the body surfers in the distance. They looked like they could be out of a movie. They were all beautiful, laughing, smiling and very skillful. They looked like they were having way more fun than I was, so I wanted to try it.

I took a couple steps out towards their direction, and then I remembered what my dad said to me. I felt fine as I waded up to my knees in water, choosing to ignore my dad's warning. I slowly inched out further and further and my brothers followed me. Everything was fine, in fact the waves were better further out and my brothers and I were having fun just like the other kids. Obviously my dad did not know anything of what I was capable of, so I continued deeper into the water past my waist and convinced my brothers to body surf with me.

We were just like the older kids. It was such a good feeling conquering the waves and being the same as everyone else. After a while I was starting to get tired, so I asked my brothers if they wanted to go back. They agreed.

As I started to swim back towards shore, I realized I was paddling unusually hard with my limbs and I was not getting far. It was an unusual feeling for me because I was a good swimmer. I did not think anything of it and started to paddle harder.

I was not moving.

My heart started to race as I could start to feel my body being pulled out farther and farther by the water. I looked over at my brothers, and they were getting pulled in just like I was. John was crying as he kept paddling to keep his head above water, and Tim started to scream for help. I cannot describe to you how truly ashamed of myself I was at that moment in my life. The waves started to get bigger and bigger, crashing over my head. I could barely breathe as the waves beat up my body. I knew I could not handle it. I knew my dad was right. I knew it was my fault and no one else’s that my brothers and I were about to die.

As the waves approached me, at least 3 feet over my head, I screamed before my body was pulled under. As I sank, I knew I was going to die because nobody could hear our cries for help.

Facing death, I saw everything flash before my eyes; I would never graduate high school, I would never fall in love, I would never have kids, I would never get to truly experience life. The guilt that I felt was worse than any pain I have ever experienced in my life because I loved my brothers so much. I had no other idea what to do besides pray. I barely believed in God, but I prayed in desperation as I sank deeper and deeper, “God if you are out there save us!”

Immediately after I said that, I felt a hand pull me up to the surface. It was my dad. He and another man he met at the beach rescued me and my brothers. Questions of how did he get there so fast and how could he possibly hear us or know we were in trouble, filled my mind as my dad helped me. Once I was up to my waist in water and out of the undertow, my dad let me go, and I walked to the shore hanging my head in shame of what I had done.

As I saw him ahead of me on the shore, I knew I had to talk to him. I was prepared to face my punishment. I did not care what it was because I deserved it. When I looked my dad in the eye, he said nothing but the words “I love you,” as he hugged me.

I cried.

As I told my story on that stage all of the people around me began to cry, and I
felt the presence of God. He gave me the words that I did not know, and he helped me
explain to the people there what the story meant. In life when you see other people living in sin, it looks fun and glamorous, and when you first try, it is that way. Although it is enjoyable, it gets a hold of you, it consumes you, and there is only one way to escape and that is through Jesus, our Savior.

Even though we sin and do horrible things in life, Jesus is always going to be there for us if we call on his name, and he will not be there to say, "I told you so." He will be there to say “I love you.”

Until that very day as I stood in front of that crowd, I never understood what truly
[had] happened or why. That one experience has completely changed my life. I know now that God saved me because he loves me and wants to use me. Not a smart perfect girl... he wants me, Becky, as imperfect as I may be.

Since my trip to Africa my sophomore year, my faith in God has grown exponentially. I know that he has put a burden on my heart for the people of Africa and I know he has called me to serve over there. Every day I think about the people there, and want more than anything in the world to go back. Next year I am returning to Kenya, for a whole school year to work specifically with the children of Kenya that are living on the streets.

God is using her surrendered life! Her obedience to our Savior is changing lives in Kenya. I am so thankful for her testimony, which has really, only begun!

Next time, an update on the seamless way the Lord has hemmed her into her new home.

I pray that I as an adult, am not too far along in life to listen or respond to the voice of my Savior! When He calls, I need to respond, instantly. Just like Becky did. She did not know why or how to relate her story. She only knew she was supposed to. She did, and God drew many to Him.

He will do the same with my life, if I disregard my myriad reasons and road blocks. The more surrendered I remain, the more quickly He can draw others to Him!



At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing her testimony. As I sit here drying the tears, I'm quickly reminded once again of His AGAPE that He has for us, NO MATTER WHAT! Thanks again.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Becky's story.

Just a side thought...In my experience (and others I know) when we choose to do our own thing, our own way, without His help, He lets us, because God does not force us to be obedient. And, YES, He does accept us back unconditionally, without condemnation, however, I find it is sometimes accompanied by the question, "So, how did that work out for you?"

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im reading I would die for you right now for a school project. It just touches my heart the way BJ had this passion for being a missionary and for loving god with all his heart, mind soul, and strength (Deut. 6:5). Thank you for sharing BJ's testimony with me and all of the world, it helps me think about my priorities in life and how I should serve God!

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Thank you for sharing.


Post a Comment

<< Home