Chasing Needles

I’ve been enjoying writing this little self-made series on “Heroes of the Faith”.  I love sorting thru my mind to see what (hopefully) God will bring to it.

Several of our friends have been scurrying  around here getting “The Jab” as Aussies call it, to immunize themselves against the Corona virus.  We are sitting in the back, verrrry quietly hoping that more time and research will pass before we’re required to line up.

But all this furor made me remember something that happened a long time ago. And instead of avoiding the Jab, we were trying to get it!
It all started when our mission asked us to run over to Hong Kong for three months to pave the way for the arrival of another missionary family who would be taking on the Japanese church there. It was good timing, since we needed to pull away from our ministry in Japan long enough for them to call a Japanese pastor, something they might never have done if we had stayed in the area. So we were delighted to go. Son Nathan would keep up his home schooling and 6-year-old daughter Nicki would enter the Japanese school there. There were operating on the same curriculum as Japanese schools in Japan, so she never missed a beat.

As we were making plans for Hong Kong, we were also setting up for a three-month assignment in Ethiopia. It had occurred to us that our children had become way to “citified” and needed to be exposed to REAL missionary work in a jungle somewhere. But that’s another story.
So there we were in Hong Kong.  We were on a very restrictive budget as the whole Ethiopia-jungle-encounter was not covered by mission funds, and we’d have to foot the bill for the experience. We’d be working in a refugee camp 500 miles from the nearest asphalt, so we figured saving money while there would be a cinch.

We began re-thinking that idea when all the lists of required vaccinations started coming in, but hey! This was what real missions was all about, we told the kids.
Our first Sunday in Hong Kong, we met the nicest Chinese couple. He was a prominent doctor (and still is) and they had such a heart for the Japanese people in Hong Kong that they attended our service every week.  They also hosted a Bible Study in their home. The number of people they continue to influence for the Kingdom is legendary.
He, being a doctor, as soon as he heard we were headed for Africa announced, “I’ll provide your immunizations so you won’t have to worry about that expense!” We were greatly relieved, because that alone would have cost us most of our budget.

But then we hit a little snag.  The Yellow Fever immunization, because it is a live virus, can only be administered by the Health Department in Hong Kong.  We didn’t say anything to our friend, but we found out that it would be hundreds of dollars.  We asked the Lord again about the wisdom of this adventure, and continued on, looking right and left for a ‘sign’.

We didn’t say a thing to anyone else either.  It’s mostly better not to let everyone know you’re on a fool’s errand, especially if it’s at the cost of normal living. And then one day at the Bible study, the Dr’s wife handed me an envelope. I didn’t have time to look at it as we hurried out the door to catch the train, but standing on the platform, I teased the envelope open.

Tears blurred my eyes as I read the note.  “Here’s a little something for you to be able to enjoy a bit of Hong Kong.”
How did she know that the amount she put in the envelope was the EXACT amount we needed for the immunizations? And as for “enjoying Hong Kong”, there was plenty of that, thanks to the doctor, his wife, and all our new friends at the Japanese church.

We went to Ethiopia.  I think it grew all four of us in our faith, because it wasn’t safe and sometimes it wasn’t fun, but God was with us in amazing and obvious ways like only He can be! One of these days, I’ll share that chapter of our lives with you. Or, if you can’t wait, read about it in our memoirs, Weaving Sunlight.

Years later, we talked with the doctor and his wife, telling them about the amazing “coincidence” that day when our needs were so fully provided, thanks to their generosity. They insisted that she just opened her wallet and didn’t even count the wad of cash she put in the envelope.

Isn’t living a life with God fun?? Unknown, even to themselves, Heroes of the Faith………

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