You didn’t see what the seed could become. You just faithfully tilled the soil, making little holes of understanding with gentle fingers, pushing in seeds that might take root and grow… but might not.
That wasn’t up to you, really. You just planted them anyway.
You spent the countless hours, days, weeks, months, years praying and seeking the Lord, waiting for the seeds to grow and yield fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.
You supported emotionally, spiritually, financially, and relationally as those seeds began to emerge. They were bright green and still curled up, but there nonetheless.
You rejoiced, with uncertainty perhaps, when you get that first call… the, “Mom and Dad, I’m going to Africa this summer” call. You said, “We’ll see how God provides…” but the seeds you planted and tended and nurtured for the last 19 years meant that your response was met with, “He will provide and I’m going to Africa this summer.” So you began tracking down every connection you had to the African continent, just in case your daughter needed help while oversees.
Four months later, you saw that the Lord did provide. And so, you faithfully dropped your daughter off at the airport with her new Leatherman tool, duffel bag, and long skirts, kissed her goodbye, and waved as she wove through security to catch her flight to NYC and then Jo-Burg, South Africa to serve at an orphanage for two weeks.
Upon her return, you marveled over the photos with her of a little boy named Sofanee playing soccer, a little girl name Tahmee being held in the nursery, and a preteen named Personality dancing with her friends. You heard, in her voice, that the seeds you’ve tended have blossomed and a calling to Africa long-term has emerged.
The next summer, you intercepted another phone call from your daughter about a trip (even longer in duration this time) to South Asia. But the movie “Taken” had just come out and you weren’t sure if this is a good idea…
But again, God provided and those little seeds you’d been planting continued to grow.
This time, she boarded a plane from Oklahoma City to the Indian subcontinent on her 21st birthday and you didn’t even get to see her. But you knew the Lord sees her, and she is in His hands, and that’s enough.
… then she called you from a pay phone halfway through the trip in the middle a crowded, loud, hot street, crying about not being able to do this and wanting to come home. And I’m sure, to some degree, you wanted that, too. But you taught her perseverance and faithfulness to the calling when you said, “No. You cannot come home. The Lord is with you.” You prayed with her then and continued to pray for her throughout the rest of her time abroad.
Because that’s how you are. That’s who you are. You just faithfully planted seeds, watered then, nurtured them, and saw how the Lord grew them.
You received many messages and phone calls about leading a trip to Ghana, about an opportunity in Togo, about applying to serve in Togo long-term, about being appointed…
And every step of the way, you prayed, watched, waited, praised God.
Mom and Dad, you were the first ones to plant seeds in my life that have pointed me to where I and my family are today. You always held us with open hands, allowing the Lord to lead and use us as He saw fit, trusting our gifts and abilities to Him.
People ask me all the time, “How do you parents feel about you moving to Africa with their grandkids?” and I take great delight in telling them that you were our first financial partners, as soon as our ABWE account was opened. You were the ones who have already talked about visiting us in Togo, who share our prayer cards with everyone you see or meet, and who help meet our needs however you can.
Allen and I are so thankful for you. We love you.
Happy 38th anniversary, y’all. You’re *literally* the best.