Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery.

Well, I have had lots of “pearls slipping off a string” lately. However after reading through the titles of my blog posts and noticing the content of a lot of them, I hope people do not get the idea that everyday there is a drama of some sort going on in our house! A medical emergency, a snake to ward off or some life and death situation. This is not the case….well not always. 🙂

These past few weeks I have had days taken up with potty training and lots and lots of normal. Mosquito bites, ant infestations, tears and giggles. Cooking, dish washing, clothes sorting, and sitting on the porch talking to chatty neighbors (which is not good for the potty training). There has also been mornings of preparation for the ladies Bible Study, team meetings, church meetings, a few birthday parties, discussions, decisions, distractions….but not too much drama. Just life, family and ministry all rolling along one day after another.

  Love waking up together to a happy baby, a bouncy girl and strong black coffee. Our normal. 

However these are the days I cherish, the moments I cherish, for they pass too quickly. Sometimes I wish I could freeze life at this stage that we are at with our two year old and our baby. I love Saturday morning pancake time and bedtime stories. Coffee with my husband before they wake up (which is rare) and rocking a baby to sleep. These days I am treasuring listening to a two year old discover her imagination, “pearls slipping off a string”. Precious. Valuable. Unique.

This girl asks for her picture to be taken EVERY morning. I have a whole folder of these early morning photos.  🙂 

The same is true of life in the village. Kids are busy at school and looking forward to graduations that will be next month. There hasn’t been a good rain since before Christmas. There is a new bus going through the village. There was a seminar for the farmers and they all got new orange hats that they are wearing ever so proudly. There have been a few weddings, lots of coughs and flus and totally not related but just as annoying, the road got widened and is really dusty. Simply put, days are passing, sunsets are amazing and mornings come again….sometimes too early.

 So why write a blog post if nothing is really happening….well let me share a glimpse into a few moments of my rather normal life.

 It was while reading one of those bedtime stories to my two year from her “Toddler Bible” that God spoke to MY heart. It was a three line story about the children of Isreal and how God supplied them with manna during their time in the wilderness. It read, “The Israelites spent many years in the desert. Every morning God sent them special food called manna to collect. And each night God sent birds called quails to cook and eat”. So simple and yet so incredible. So while she was asleep in her little pink bed I was scurrying back to Exodus chapter 16 to re read this wonderful (and sometimes all too familiar) story of Moses and the children of Isael in the desert. My heart was stirred and blessed as I thought on what it must have been like to be there and experience this…. and yet I do. Our God is the same wonderful, patient, faithful God, and today He has promised and proved to meet my every need. Life changing.

 It was while sitting with my chatty neighbor that we were able to talk for over an hour about the Bible study he is having with our co workers Paul and Cathy. He is a man that is not yet saved, but he is thinking and questioning and praise God he is getting the opportunity to listen to the truth of God’s Word. People are praying for this man and his family. Silent prayers, prayers that are lifted up in far away distant countries, prayers that are brought before our Mighty God….who hears. We are praying for a life to be changed.

 It was while heading to arrange a meeting with some of the people in the village that Danny and I enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach and some rare alone time together. Holding hands, just being us. It is in these moments that I remember the statement I once read, that not only did I get to marry the man I love, but now I get to love the man I married. Life changing. 

After baking all morning last week with one of my dear friends here in the village, we sat down to a cup of coffee and some fresh lemon bread. Both my kiddies were asleep, the coffee was strong and black, the bread was fresh and warm and our fellowship together was real, personal, God-centered and encouraging to my heart. She has learnt so much from God’s Word in such a short time. She is a life changed. I am a life changed. Thank you Jesus. 

Sunday afternoons at 3pm we meet together every week for Sunday School. These past few weeks we have divided the kids up according to age. Last week as I looked around the room I was blessed to see that in more than one situation it was a mother sitting helping her own child read and learn from the Scriptures. Truth being passed from one generation to another…with love. A few years ago the truth of God’s Word was not known in this place. Today a mother sits and teaches her son the Word of God. Life changing for both.

Gathered together with a group of people who speak a different language from me, whose customs and ways often still leave me ever so perplexed. We sit on hard wooden benches, it is a hot afternoon, the kids are playing outside, the men sit near the back, they read the scriptures silently while they wait. I look around the room at the faces. I know their stories: a former Seventh Day Adventist, the daughter of a witch doctor, a lady who moved here to meet the father she never knew. Another whose husband was murdered last year, opposite her there is a man who has served time in prison. There is a young man who is sick and doesn’t know what his future will hold, beside him is his mother who worries about him. A young mother, a sister, a friend, a co worker. In the middle of us all there is a plastic table. Nothing fancy. We are all gathered around the table on which sits a plate of skyflakes (crackers) broken into small pieces and some grape juice. We sing together, we pray together, we read the Word of God together, and most of all we remember our Saviour together. Our Saviour who died to free us from the fear of evil spirits, to free us from death, to liberate us from the bondage of sin and to give us new life in Christ. A Saviour who bled and died a cruel death in obedience to His Heavenly Father so that a sinner (such as I) can be forgiven, be freed, be saved, be at peace with the Creator of all things, our Almighty God. Remembering His great love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Life changing.

My list could go on and on, but I guess all I am trying to say is that it is often in the daily routine things of life that we can miss the chance to see the miraculous. For In the small things God is still great. In the mundane things He is still ever present. In the routine He is still faithful and in the rhythmn of life He still Sovereign.

Everyday God is at work. Everyday He is bringing glory unto Himself. Everyday He provides me with a new opportunity to love Him, to serve Him and to praise Him…

Tonight I thank God for moments of contentment, for He is there, calling us to lift our eyes off the mundane and into the eternal. It is a discipline that God is still stretching me in. I want to learn to seek Him each day in whatever He brings my way. I pray that God will help me to be faithful in the mundane, so that I will rejoice in the eternal.

Good night

Philippa for us all.


2 thoughts on “"Like pearls slipping off a string."

  1. hjemme bra says:

    Thank you, Philippa, for sharing this.
    It blessed my heart!
    Our situations are so simular, and so different. 😉


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