To hesitate to post something does not always mean that you should not post it at all. That was confirmed to me when some very precious email conversations came as a result of this blogpost: – what’s on the table- I asked for permission to share parts of that conversation.
Walking with the Lord in our deepest need for us, is to have a deeper faith; for our children, it is to (in their own budding walk with God and faith) begin to learn to pray with their parents for the needs of the family in their own adolescent way, not totally understanding all the ramifications of the need but understanding that mom and dad have a need to talk to the Lord, and it is serious that “we,” the children, pray alongside of them against the darkness of fear (which, sadly, some missionary kids later rail against because they saw the “worry” of the parents and began to hate God for the stress of it in the home); and for the smallest ones, it is to feel the peace of the home and know that God rules there and so to not be afraid. I am walking with you in this.
I am very glad that you wrote this sort of blog and I am praying now that this will be used of the Holy Spirit to move the hearts of the people to share with you so that you will have all that you need and more to both raise your family and share Christ with the Roma. God is allowing these things in a way also so that you will know the suffering of the Roma as they live this everyday, all day and really do not know sometimes where their next meal will come from. I have had this situation you are in many times, and God brought to my mind some Roma women I met when I was living in another area.
They were Bayash women from a village I had been in several times. I saw them rummaging in the garbage bin. They came to the house to beg. My husband greeted them with “Good Day.” One woman said, “It is only a ‘good day’ when I have found enough left-over food in the garbage to feed my children ‘bread.’” It was stunning, and we brought them into our little flat, which at least had gas heat and some bread, jam, and coffee, but I was never the same after that encounter as I knew she would have to go back 10 miles on her bike in the freezing cold with just some bread and what was basically trash for her family, and that problem would not go away the next day either. Every day, she would have to go out and forage like that. It breaks my heart to think of it. God allows us missionaries to experience some of their suffering, the anxiety of “where is it going to come from and when?” so that we can “see” it differently, actually have the experience ourselves. The difference for us is that we have Christ and all His promises. They have those as well, but they do not know it.
Our suffering invigorates our faith and our compassion for those women. Remembering that the word compassion (unlike empathy, which means feeling the passion, whatever it is, alongside the other) compassion means “with passion,” so that you are doing something about the need—you are “walking with the other” in their passion. I imagine that we might have more difficulty “walking with” others if we did not ourselves experience that passion.
I am praying for you today, for your heart and your mind and pray that the others who read it will share what they have with your children and your ministry. Bless you so, so much, Janneke. Much love to you. See you soon.
This beautiful response gives me a lot to ponder about. Needless to say, it was very encouraging and affirming.
Here is another response I would like to share:
“When you need help, a sign of strength is to ask [for] and accept help.”
Your blogs are instrumental in keeping me informed; I can see that you are starting to make a difference in that dark corner of Europe and that your commitment is enormous and genuine. I would not have peace in my heart if I did not reach out to help you more; through the Lord’s loving presence, I hope to contribute to you both having peace in your hearts.
In my reading this morning, I read Psalm 25, which I would like to share with you (NRSV):
Prayer for Guidance and for Deliverance
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
I thought of your whole family as I read the above passage.
And, finally, when we were figuring out how to make the journey to the Netherlands a couple of weeks ago and really did not have enough money to pay the gas, we got a phone call. Dear people responded to the invitation to sit around the table—just ordinary people like you and me who are willing to say: Yes, count me in; I want to be part of what God is doing there in your part of Europe. I support you. To those, we say this:
“May the Lord richly repay you for what you have done.
God bless you and your gifts.”