Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Numbers

Reflection

What would we do without them?  We use them on a daily basis.  Numbers tell us
  • how much we weigh and how tall we are
  • who has the most points and who has the least
  • when we can start driving, when we can vote, and legally drink alcohol
  • how many dollars we get in our paycheck
  • how many grandchildren we have
  • how many days we have left before we leave for Africa
  • and how old we are.

Sixty-five.  Or should I say 65?  That's how old I am.

Sixty-five years ago today, in a small town in Wisconsin, my mother, married to a dairy farmer, was in the hospital going through what mothers go through to bring an eternal being into daylight for the first time.

It's just a number ... right?  It's just a number that measures how many years I've been on this planet.  It's just a day when dozens of your friends post "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" on your Facebook wall.  It's just a day when your family has a party for you with your favorite food, sing the traditional birthday song to you, and express their love to you.

That's what people say.  It's just a number. But, this number is more than just a number.

This number has a voice.  It whispers, "You've lived longer than you thought you would!  You are now old."

This number is a red light.  "This is the time when normal people stop working and retire.  You are officially an old person now."

This number is a green light.   "You are now old enough to collect social security from the government. Oh, and you are now on Medicare too.  That's the government medical insurance for old people."

This number is sure different from my perspective now than it was when I was in grade school, high school, college, a newlywed, and a young father.  Then, sixty-five (65) seemed to be a title for people who were simply surviving, having no real redemptive purpose.  It was rumored that they can't see well, can't hear well, wear dentures, smell funny, walk kind of funny, have strange bumps on their faces and either grey hair or no hair.  Yeah ... those people were in a class all by themselves.

Today I join their ranks!  I are one of them!  And, I'm here to tell you that most of the descriptions above misrepresent this class of people.  Yeah, some of those things are true, but 65 is not a time to stop contributing to society and surrender to being just a taker until taken to the morgue.  It is a great time to reevaluate, assess, and keep being a giver.

Jenny at work in Cambodia
Last week the Lord graciously gave me a reminder of what I do and why I do it.  His reminder was wrapped up in a beautiful young lady named Jenny Robinson.  I was Jenny's childhood pastor, as I was on my way to doing what I was made to do and learning on the way, along with dozens of young people God put in my path.  A small group of people had gathered at the home of Jenny's parents to hear from Jenny.  As I looked and listened to the work this amazing person is doing in Cambodia (on less than $1,000 a month), I marveled at the design of God to put parents, teachers, and mentors in our lives to get us to where He takes us.  Jenny has discovered and is discovering the glory of Jesus and wants as many people to discover it as well.  She is involved in a holistic ministry of evangelism and discipleship among hundreds of Cambodians after serving the Lord in South Africa and Zambia. Please take a look at her life at http://cambodia101.wordpress.com/.

Jenny with her proud parents, Cheryl & Dale Robinson
God gave me the heart of a father before I was married and before I had any biological children.  It has always been my passion to see the next generation go beyond anything I have experienced or witnessed.  Jenny was reminding me of many her own age who grew with her.  I was privileged to influence them and now many are doing a fabulous job of representing the Lord Jesus in diverse venues.  Father's don't create life, sustain life, or take credit for the faithfulness and success of the next generation, but they can assist God in making deposits of His grace in their lives.  I look at so many of the next generation and I'm proud of what God has accomplished in and through them.  People like Jenny!

I'm not ready to quit contributing just because I happen to be on this number of 65.  Retirement is far from my mind.  Pam and I have been like parents for our two oldest granddaughters for the four months we have been in the States.  We are going to miss them as we return to Africa on January 14th.  We are consoled by the fact that they are not the people now that they were eight months ago when we started living life together.

Front cover of the dust jacket of my first book
We are also consoled by the fact that we have a few children waiting for us in Uganda.  I've written a book, about one of them and her work, titled Finding Family ... From a Scary Place to a Caring Place. Next Generation Ministries is making a pre-publication offer of this book ... available for a minimum donation of $50.  It is a beautiful coffee table style book profiling Sera Kasonga's journey from the genocide of Rwanda to becoming the mother of 20 boys taken from the streets of Jinja.  A bulk order of the book will be on hand in the NGM office as soon as Sera works with me on the final editing of it.  If you would like a copy of this book please mail a check to Next Generation Ministries for at least $50 and write FINDING FAMILY in the memo line.  You will receive a copy of the book and a tax deductible receipt of $20.  All of the proceeds from these contributions will be put in Sera's Caring Place account and used to sustain their family.  It seems fitting to release this opportunity on the Fourth Anniversary of Sera's Caring Place!  The book includes brief information about the home, its history, and profiles of the boys.  I wonder where each boy will be when they reach this number of 65?  God has graciously put several of us in their path to redirect, equip, and enable them to go somewhere for the glory of God.  As long as He gives me breath ...

Back cover of the dust jacket of Finding Family

2 comments:

  1. I love you both, Paul and Pam Hunter. I love this testimony and your amazing, living hearts.
    Brian

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  2. I, too, am turning 65 this month. Doesn't sound right but it is. I have more direction to what God is doing in my life than ever before so I guess I am no where near any kind of retirement. Mike Bickle calls it refire. That fits better.
    We will be in Jinja for my birthday on the 25th. We leave Denver the 23rd. Hope to meet up with you and your Pam.

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