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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: 4 Years Ago Today

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4 Years Ago Today

Can any of you say exactly where you were or what you were doing 4 years ago today? Perhaps you can. Perhaps you were married 4 years ago today, or one of your children was born 4 years ago today. Perhaps you know you came to know Christ 4 years ago today.

Today is very special to me, for it was this day, July 9, 2004, a Friday, that I met My Beloved. This is our story:

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July 9, 2004 was a big day. I had spent the previous 2 weeks as a candidate with a missions agency in central Pennsylvania. From breakfast to bedtime we sat in meetings, training, and interviews, and it all came down to today. Today I stood before the mission board to be accepted or denied, sent out or sent home as it were.

My path to this day began years earlier when I felt the first desire to be a missionary in Africa, as well as my first experiences on short term mission trips with my youth group during my high school years. In college I had several opportunities to travel overseas on short term mission trips, but they all fell through. I joined a group on my college campus who met to learn about and pray for missionaries around the world. Out of college my desires to one day become an overseas missionary continued. I spent 11 weeks in Bolivia in the back country to learn that I really did have a heart specifically for the Muslim people of Bangladesh. Upon returning home, I began working to that end.

A friend was making plans to move to India as a missionary herself and had been applying to a mission agency I had long been acquainted with. As I watched her move through the application process with what would become the same mission board I would stand before, we talked of plans and ideas. India, being a neighboring country of Bangladesh had a very large population of Muslim Bengals, so we made plans to go for a survey trip. She and I, with several others, traveled together to India and Bangladesh. During the 3 weeks there, my heart was solidified in its desire to live and serve among those people. I returned home and stepped to action.

Now it was one year later. I had done all the paper work, taken the tests, passed my oral doctrinal exam (yikes), and traveled the long distance from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania. Today I would stand before the board. Many were nervous, but my anxiety was based in excitement to begin the next step. The questions they would ask me would be personal ones, nothing I had to spend months studying. There were no “wrong” answers. And once the board made their decision, I could begin to raise my support and make my move to southern Asia.

I entered the large board room and stood before rows and rows of men and their wives. The mission’s president stood at the front with me, facilitating questions. I was asked a number of questions, all of which I answered with ease. I was light hearted and relaxed through the whole interview. When I had been dismissed, I stood in the hall just outside the doors waiting for the results. Moments later the administrator for my region came through the doors into the hall with the news. I had been accepted… appointed to Bangladesh. It was official… I was now a missionary on my way to Bangladesh.

Much of the rest of the afternoon was a blur. I returned to my hotel room to change and collect my things before catching a ride back to the main office (the board interviews had taken place in one of the hotel meeting rooms.) I was excited to have been appointed, yes… but there were far more important things to be excited about. Now that I was officially an “employee” of this mission agency, I could get the employee pricing on the Microsoft Office software I wanted! Let’s be serious here… that’s what really matters right? I’d had enough of the free word processing software in the last 6 months since buying my new computer and loosing my Word software. I had talked to someone in the IT department a day or so earlier and learned that I could buy it as soon as I was appointed, so here I was, on my way back to the office to get that taken care of.

Things were quieter around the office than they had been the previous couple weeks I’d been there. Most of the candidates were back at the hotel either relaxing or waiting their turn before the board. Many of the staff were also at the hotel serving in some capacity. I walked through the quiet halls before arriving at the IT office.

I entered the office looking for the tall, dark haired man I’d talked with the day before… but he was no where to be found. Somewhat unsure of myself, but overly friendly and talkative I jumped in with both feet. Sitting at a desk in the corner of the office was another man. “Excuse me,” I said getting his attention. I’d seen him before. Several nights before a group of us “singles” had eaten dinner together and he’d been there. We never talked and we hadn’t met, but he was familiar... he was one of two men at the table... it was hard not to notice him. As he turned in his chair now to give me his full attention, I continued, “I talked to someone yesterday about buying Microsoft Office today.”

“Sure,” he said grabbing a paper from his desk. While he began the process, I filled him in on my day, being appointed, and of course how excited I was to get this software. I’m sure I told him how much he was making my day in getting it for me, etc, etc. He took down my information and we continued to chat back and forth a bit. Before finishing everything up, he paused. “Ah,” he started, “I messed this up. I’m sorry, I have to start again.”

He grabbed another copy of the form and we continued chatting about this and that (I honestly don’t remember… I was just so excited about the software.) I mentioned the conference for missionaries the following week and how I’d be staying in town to attend it. I’d love to think that I asked him things about himself and was generally a good listener, but I’m pretty sure I did most of the talking. He was, after all, filling out a form. Then it happened… he handed me the software wrapped in it’s clear plastic packaging. I held it in both hands and just looked at it. I was so excited. I thanked the IT guy with great enthusiasm and walked out of his office looking at my software… not giving the guy who sold it to me another thought. It was only later that I found out he had messed up my order on purpose… just to get a few more minutes with me.

To be continued…

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Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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4 Comments:

At July 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM , Blogger Irene said...

Okay seriously, I know the story, I witnessed the wedding and yet, I feel like I'm left hanging here! When are you going to finish the story my friend? I know your husband is a romantic and I love your stories:)

 
At July 9, 2008 at 12:32 PM , Blogger ~Babychaser~ said...

Nothing else happened 4 years ago today. :)

 
At July 9, 2008 at 1:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started dating my sweetie! And I live in Central pa!

 
At July 9, 2008 at 3:22 PM , Blogger 3cookieday said...

Oooooh, I can't wait to find out the rest of the story! : ) How fun!

 

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