A Work in Progress


I love watching a good movie, snuggled up on the couch with my husband. As you are watching, all the pieces fit together so beautifully—the dialogue, the costumes, the music, the cinematography. I’d much rather watch the movie than the “making of the movie” documentary buried in the special features section of the DVD. But the magic on the screen is possible only with  months of work leading up to the final product– the composer struggling with the score, the actors working up just the right emotion for the scene, the editor straining over hours of film. The process is not nearly as fascinating as the end result.

God is at work in the process.

I knew God had opened doors to make it possible for M to come for Christmas. God had provided again and again to help cover the hosting fees. God had brought M to us at this appointed time for a great purpose. But at the moment, I had an exhausted young lady on my hands who spoke essentially zero English, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to do except put the poor girl to bed. All the weeks of praying, and planning, and fundraising, and paperwork had led up to this moment. What I had assumed was the end of the hard work was in fact just the beginning. The hard work of loving a girl who was a stranger to me—but a girl written on the palms of my Father’s hands (Isaiah 49:16).

M sat in the back seat, clutching her welcome gift and staring out the window, occasionally nodding off from fatigue. I sat in the front seat, clutching the steering wheel and praying God would help me find the hotel where we were spending the night, praying my youngest daughter’s fever would break, praying that this month with M would make a difference in her life.

We made it safely to the hotel, and she looked around in wonder. I had carefully printed off some phrases for our first few days together–a cheat sheet of sorts. One of those phrases was, “We are staying in a hotel tonight.” When I showed her the paper in the airport, she looked at it then at me as if I had three heads. “She can’t read!” I thought in panic. “How will we communicate for an entire month?”

Again, I was so fearful and so concerned about myself that I didn’t think of the ordeal M had just been through:

She had never been on an airplane before. She had gotten airsick.

She had been traveling for probably 20 hours or more. She had to hurry through customs and then wait all day in the airport for her flight to St. Louis.

She had helped two little sisters who were also hosted in our area through the maze of confusion.

And now she was in a foreign country, alone; listening to a language she barely knew; traveling in a car with a stranger she will live with for the next month…a woman she has never met except in a brief welcome letter she received at the airport back in her home country.

While I had six weeks to prepare to meet M, she had less than a day. And prepare I did–there were trainings to attend, and books to read, social workers to meet, dentists to call, and money to raise. I had thought I was doing something really important and amazing, but I realize that M is the brave one. I barely left my comfort zone to bring her here. She had given up all familiarity and safety in order to come.

God brought us together. At this time. For His purpose.

And it is still a story in progress.