What has NOT happened...
So two weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, my cousin Debbie passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was one of those people who I think everyone loved and she loved just about everyone.
As a family, we always get together for holidays and birthdays. But Debbie was the one that would just call or text on a Wednesday and say "hey, everyone come of for dinner on Saturday night". She just liked us being together as a family.
Theres a little part of me thats scared of how our life as a family will change now that she's gone. We maybe won't get together as much. I don't know - but I guess I can be the one to make sure we do get together. I'll never be the initiator of laughter like Debbie, but I can at least get the laughter together!
So two Wednesdays ago, we were all attending a funeral.
And then two days later, we were all in Kansas for my nieces wedding.
My pastor has been preaching through Ecclesiastes and I have to say this has been one of those times in life where you really stop and see life for what it is. Theres birth, theres life and theres death. And everything in between the birth and the death is a gift! There are times of work and just doing what you have to do, and then there are times of sorrow and grieving, and then God gives you those times to enjoy. And I have to admit that I feel particularly blessed that God has given me so much family to enjoy all those good times with!
And then tonight, Sunday night, theres a church around the corner from my house that hosted Olive Lefield as a speaker. Olive Lefield was actually Olive Fleming who was married to Pete Fleming, one of the men who were killed by the Auca Indians in the jungles of Ecuador in the 1950s.
It was a little breath taking to sit and listen to this woman who had interacted with these legends in the Christian faith and who had interacted with the Indians who became legends of the Christian faith.
If you don't know the story, first a Wikipedia link thats actually correct :)
And a quick recap. In the 1950s there were five missionary couples that went to Ecuador to reach the natives who lived in the jungles. The ones who had never heard of Christ. They had a plane and they had a basic plan - but they had no clue what God's plan was!
They found made contact with a remote group of Indians called the Auca Indians. They made several trips over their area in the jungle and from their plane they dropped gifts. And then finally one of the times they landed. And they waited and there came out three Indians, a man and two women, and they communicated the best they could and they made friendly contact.
They then left but were so excited that now they had made friendly contact and so they planned to go back to make contact again.
They did return and basically as soon as they landed, the Aucas ambushed them and killed them all.
What struck me tonight is - those five men who were killed that day in 1955 never once had a chance to do what they actually had prayed and hoped to do - share the Gospel with the Auca Indians.
However, at least three of the wives of the men who were killed actually went back into the jungles to those Auca Indians and not only forgave them, but loved them enough to share the Gospel with them. And whats even more amazing is God used those deaths to bring a good number of the Auca Indians to faith in Christ! So - five men gave their lives to show the forgiveness of Christ in the love their wives showed for their killers.
Now the men who killed the five missionaries, including Olive Lefields husband Pete Fleming, all of those Indians have become believers and are considered grandfather the missionaries grandchildren. They share a love of Christ and a love for each other.
It was just this amazing revelation tonight - how God uses things that seem hopeless and futile, for his glory and for our good and for the love of Christ! Bad becomes good. Hated become loved. Frightened become forgiven. Hopeless become hopeful.
|Olive and Pete Fleming - only married for 18 months before Pete was killed by the Auca Indians|