Funny story of the day: I got this eye infection and went to the doctor. So I go and say “Well Dr., my nurse friend thought I might have Irisitis or something similar, do you think that’s what it is?” He blankly looked at me and said “I’ve never heard of that, can’t figure what that might be.” Very reassuring. The examination finished, he sat down and said, “actually I don’t know ‘tall what you’ve got, I’ll give you two prescriptions.”
Funny story of the day: I got this eye infection and went to the doctor. So I go and say “Well Dr., my nurse friend thought I might have Irisitis or something similar, do you think that’s what it is?” He blankly looked at me and said “I’ve never heard of that, can’t figure what that might be.” Very reassuring. The examination finished, he sat down and said, “actually I don’t know ‘tall what you’ve got, I’ll give you two medicines.”
South Africa, 23 August 2005
“May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole Spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He Who calls you is faithful, Who will also do it.” I Thes. 5:23
Our God truly is the Faithful One of the generations. And I am blessed to be among those He has called out of the world to partake of a heavenly kingdom that knows no boundaries on earth. I find comfort in that Hand that spread the waters of the sea and brought the land forth, that He has encompassed me before and behind in all my ways. But I find each day I must surrender myself completely to His able hands, as I rely completely on His strength to carry me through moment to moment in my new work.
I am in Bronkhorstfontein, South Africa and have just over thirty abandoned newborns and infants to care for. I am at the “Nursery” at 0600 on a normal day and work until 1900 in the evening, with at least an hour break somewhere along the way. The longest day I’ve had so far was 15 hours with an hour lunch break, so there is definitely always work to be done here. For one week a month I go on night shift, so I work from 1800 to 0600 and sleep during the day. Though these sound like very long days, they pass surprisingly quickly and without extreme wear. My only explanation for that is grace.
What exactly do I fill these hours with? Nappies is the first word that comes to mind. In a single day I personally make around thirty bottles (give or take 20), and get the milk back from both directions about double that. But more importantly than the essentials of their daily lives, I am blessed to have two arms to share the love of Christ with the little ones He has beckoned us to be like. Because in Christ we have received all that they have been denied. They have been abandoned, I have been Adopted. They have been unloved, I know eternal Love. They have been beaten, I have been Embraced. And in Christ, I offer them all that I have received. It is the One from Whom I have received everything that I offer them a Life which cannot fade away. For now that looks like bottles and nappies, but tomorrow it could be the leaders of a Christian Africa.
Updates on former Prayer Requests:
– A Church. There is a Pentecostal and a Roman Catholic Church in nearby villages, and after visiting the former, I will be attending the latter. It is, however, a great struggle for me to be without a community and sacramental life. But I trust that God will provide ample sustenance for the time I am here.
– A companion. Loneliness is definitely still a hardship for me, so continue to pray for a kindred spirit and a counselor. We do have some internationals coming in a week, so I am praying that one of them will come alongside me to laugh, cry, pray, counsel, spar, and discuss things with me.
New Prayer Requests:
– Discernment for my parents and I to know a wise length of time for me to be here.
– Continued joy and dedication to the work before me right now.
Thank you to the many of you who continue to email and check up on me. All news from home is wonderful to my ears. Please continue to send me specific prayer requests and updates from your homes and communities. In the Father’s Hand, Nicole de Martimprey
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
And the much-awaited mailing address:
The Love of Christ
c/o Nicole de M.
P.O. Box 990468
Phone #: 011.27.11.948.8095/6
DO NOT send anything by ground, it must go by air to get here under six months time.
If you would like to see where I am staying beginning tomorrow go to: http://www.tlc.org.za I am looking forward to it. Some prayer requests: 1) A friend to laugh with. I have not had laughter in my life for a few weeks now, and for someone like me that is very difficult. 2) Joy and contentedness in God’s plan for me right now. Thank you so much for the encouragement you have sent, please send me via email any prayer requests from back there, it helps a lot to close the distance. One with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Nicole
South Africa II
“I am the Vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.” Jn 16
I cannot explain what has happened over the past week, but I know that all your prayers are being answered and God is truly being faithful to His servant. I don’t know how to express this, so I have put part of my journal entries here that begin to show to what extent I have been humbled on a battlefield with fear as my enemy and have seen our Victor triumph greatly in my life. I never expected that when I became a missionary I would feel hotter than ever before the purifying fire of God’s Spirit ridding me of the dross that has accumulated. But our Father is ever faithful to correct His children, to “purge” them with hyssop that they might be clean.
Aug 4 (Thurs):
“My eyes so oft wander from that Fount which is eternal. One moment I see that my home is in heaven, my Keeper the Creator of all, but the next fear takes it’s hold and grasps at my throat.”
“I say that the Lord is my Refuge, the Most High my dwelling place – and it is here alone where evil cannot befall, where my soul does lat its weary head. When I cry out, You will answer because You are near. You come from no far off place, but from that place that is my home. From within, from without. For I am in Your shadow, so You surround me. But You also penetrate me for my being is in Your shadow. Where can I flee from Your Spirit or go from Your Presence? There is nowhere for You are my God who has set me on high. But why then do now you feel such fear, my soul, why do you dread what may lie ahead? Place your love in Him! Know His name which has sealed you! Dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Fear not! For the God Almighty has sworn to protect, to guard, to raise you up.”
Aug 5 (Fri):
“O God, my God, I am in utter confusion, let not your light go out from around me. Leave me not a moment to the vices of my flesh. Spare me from worldly fears and fleshly anxieties. Remove from me all doubt and uncertainty. In your light let me see light, in Your hand let me feel comfort. I am but humble earth, unable to breathe lest you command it. And now I grasp for You. For Your assurance I beg, for Your presence I need. My only hope is in You, let me not continue in despair. Lead me to the Rock, which is truly You. My soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You. Let me not away from Your presence, from Your encompassing Hand. I have too much to bear, please, relieve my burden. You are my salvation in this my day of need. I have no other to turn to, but You alone O God.”
Aug 6 (Sat):
“I am begging for wisdom. I wake up in utter fear every morning – shaking even. All I want to do is go home. Father, please open doors or shut them, show me what to do. You are my only strength and I can’t do this. As David, I cry out for a God Who has forsaken me, Who has clouded the skies to where I no longer see the Son. From the depths I cry to You, O God, attend unto my prayer.”
Aug 7 (Sun):
[Before talking to my family]
“In the card my mom sent for when I miss her she wrote, ‘Stand firm. Trust in God. Excell, Fear Not, Hope Always, love the morning, remember our love.’ That goes through my mind so many times a day. And I actually feel like I have to watch the sunrise to obey her! But the dilemma is that the earlier I wake up the more time I have to think, panic, fear, etc…”
“’Turn us, O God of hosts, show us thy countenance and we shall be whole. For wherever man’s soul turns, except toward you, it is fixed to sorrows’ (St. Aug. confessions). God, my soul, no, my whole being cries out to You in anguish. Do not forsake me in my hour of need. Be with me now and comfort me for Your Name’s sake, do not let me fall. Raise me up to the light immortal, restore the joy that has fled and gone. Remove from me the sorrow that takes hold, and focus my eyes on my one and only good, which is You. Fill me with Your renewing Spirit and as a Father to His child, hold me close. I beg.”
Aug 7-8 (Sunday night – Mon morning)
[After talking with my parents and surrendering]
“My dad said I was just where God wanted me, and that included being tested, tried, and tempted, to be stripped of everything I hold as comfortable and dear – so that I might surrender to Him alone, in the simplicity of His beauty. He was right, and he truly was the mouthpiece of God to me today. I cried out to God, and he heard me, and set my foot upon the Rock that is Higher than I.”
“Surrender means something wholly new to me. I see that I am stripped now of all the clothing I usually wear. Church, family, friends, home, everything. But that’s not surrender. Surrender is being stripped of me. My pretensions, knowledge, security, strength, happiness. Once those things are gone then God is Your only security, friend, strength, and joy. But often His silence teaches your cries to become increasingly stronger, that when He answers He may be fearlessly heard.”
“I am challenged to get back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel like David before the battlefield alone, no men to help, just me and them. At that point knowing the “doctrine” of justification isn’t going to help anything. Fr. Brian emailed and said, ‘you can never allow yourself to believe in justification by faith, you believe in Christ alone.’ What this is causing me to do is be purged. Who am I? I must get back to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, and I will be purified. But birth is always messy and painful, and that is where I am now. But “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.””
“’A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world’ (Jn 16:21). My new passion is that new child, and though I know not what to do with it or how to use it, and I still feel the pangs of sanctifying childbirth – I look forward to the new life that is painfully bursting through the hardened soil of my heart. I find hope and peace in the Gardener and Keeper of my faith. He will grow what He wills to grow in me and out of me, and here I rest.
SOME FRUIT FROM THE TOIL
I have been trying to get to the abandoned infant home and have had one thing after another stop me. And everywhere else I’ve visited was not where I was supposed to be. After I finished my confession to God yesterday morning, an opportunity to visit it opened up (it’s about an hour from where I am now) and I went. It’s the first place where I’ve had to hand in an application and wait for them to accept or decline me, but I handed that application in with peace, peace that if I was accepted I would go, peace that if I was not He had other plans. The funny thing was that (communication must be very specific here) I forgot to ask when I would find out an answer (which is dangerous around here because everything takes sooo long). I got home and not six hours later I had been accepted by the ministry board, the volunteer coordinator, and the home. That’s it, I leave Monday to train at their facility how to be a mother to thirty abandoned infants. We’ll see what God has after that.
South African Update
“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For you have been a shelter to me…I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.” Ps. 61
Does South Africa count as the end of the earth? I have been three weeks here and find each day that I must cling to the Rock of my salvation, trusting in His shelter alone. It looks like I will be staying in South Africa for a couple months. In a couple weeks I will be doing an internship with a ministry called “Turn the Tide for Children”. I will travel with a missionary named Charlotte to various infant homes and orphanages for about six weeks. At the end of that time I will either reside at one of the places we visit, or go to Namibia. Though I am still moving about, the time when I can actually put my clothes in a dresser is in sight, and that is a good feeling.
How am I doing? I am learning. A lot. Very quickly. It often crosses my mind to just catch the next plane home and forget about all this. It’s not the work or the people, it’s feeling as though I am at the uttermost part of the earth, and I’m there alone. But it is also when I am in this state that I read the Psalms and my soul longs for God, for the comfort that must only come from Him because there is nowhere else to receive it. This is also forcing me to take one day at a time, to not even think about next year, month, week, or day – today is the day that the Lord has made for me to walk in, and it is the only day I can think about without being overwhelmed. But this is good, it is a trial and it is hard, but it is good. In that I am stripped of my own strength the works of God are made manifest and my temporal insecurity is overshadowed by my eternal security which is in our heavenly Father and Creator.
I would ask you to continue to pray for me and the ministry that God is opening up around me. I find so much encouragement knowing that your prayers follow me through these times, thank you for your faithfulness in them. I am excited to see how much one pair of hands can be used for the Kingdom, and am grateful for the blessings I see every day amidst the trials. Our God is truly the Ruler of the Universe and the Comforter of the Needy, praise be to Him alone.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.” Prov. 4:25