Thursday, March 24, 2016

HisStory

The power of choice, given to every human being since the Beginning, impacts the history of each life lived.

History is the accumulation of a million large and small choices.  Gathered together under the roof of each person's existence they comprise a story.

What I find fascinating is the offer of a Coauthor. The story can be written individually ... independent and on my own ... or ...

It can be written in concert with my Creator Redeemer.

Pam and I have lived an amazing life.  Looking back over nearly 7 decades, it is obvious that we had more help writing the story of our lives than we could have ever imagined.

Art & LaFonda Dunlap
May 2015 when they surprised us with a visit to Uganda!
Think about it.  Born in the what many would term the best of times for the relatively young life of America. Blessed with parents and siblings that put foundation stones deep in the ground for us. Given three amazing biological children, 12 grandchildren, 1 great granddaughter.  Privileged to have experienced nearly half a century of vocational ministry in and among people who were patient, loving, forgiving, empowering, encouraging, and gracious.  And, then, out of the blue, so to speak, plunked down in the middle of the Pearl of Africa ... Uganda ... the nation that made the Top 20 Most Beautiful Places To Live in the world!

BUT ... it's some of the details that make the story really live.  Details that were required or the story would have never been written.  This blog is about one of those amazing details.

Seldom has God given us a road map in our adventurous story.  He seems to prefer to give us just a compass. He points us in the right direction, leaving us with a thousand unanswered questions. Only providing the answers when He is sure we are ready for them.

I love the wall hanging next to LaFonda
at Amani Baby Cottage here in Jinja in May 2015.
It expressed our shared life together.
A friend of ours, an international minister, gave us a great piece of advice when we decided that Uganda was going to be the center of our later years of influence for God's glory.  "Don't sell your house, " he told us.  It sounded like advice from heaven, but we had no idea how we would be able to maintain two homes that were 10,000 miles apart.  It goes without saying, but let me say it.  There is no way that we could be in those two different places at the same time.  And, most of our time was going to be spent in Africa.

God provided the answer ... again!

Nearly 9 years ago, we received an email from dear friends of ours ... a couple we have known and shared life with for nearly 20 years.   We have been more than far or near friends.  We have been close friends.  We have been close enough to each other that we have wounded each other and lived to see the Lord's healing of those wounds.  We have shared joy and sorrow.  We have shared victory and defeat.  We have celebrated happiness and comforted each other in despair.

But, none of those experiences matched the offer that jumped off the screen in their email to us.  They were offering to put one of their daughters and her family in their home and move into ours ... to share life with us until the Lord said it was time for a change.  A flurry of emails were exchanged. "What if's" were proposed.  Some were answered.  Others were not.  But, the bottom line was that all four of us were convinced that we could really share life together in the same house. Most people assumed that since we had a two story house that maybe one couple would use one story and the other the other story.  That was not the plan at all.  It was to really share the whole house.  What is mine is yours ... literally.  The four of us committed to loving each other more than the other.

And ... you know what?  It worked.  It can't work for many.  If living in community was easy, many people would be doing it.  It was God's idea.  God's plan.  And, God's blessings.

Just before our bike ride with Art & LaFonda (and some other friends) to Montana ... Summer of 2015

Now, it is time for another change.  Art and LaFonda, after 9 years of sharing life with us, are purchasing a house less than 10 miles from ours.  They will, most likely, be moved into their new house by the end of April.  A full month before our return from Uganda for the summer.

We have NO regrets.  Only gratitude.  We are sad to see them go.  Life will not be the same.  But, is it ever?  Isn't it an endless story for those of us who are in the Eternal Family of God?

Of course, the rewarding and blessed relationship of mutual love and respect will continue.  It can't be the same.  But, the difference will be good as well.

Enterprise, Oregon August 2015
Because it is not every day you get a photo with a
bigger than life chicken!
Pam and I will never forget this incredible part of our life story.  It's unique in so many ways. Sharing our lives with another couple has been rich and rewarding.  We could have never imagined the richness it would yield to our lives.  We have witnessed weddings, births, baptisms, reunions, BBQ's, holidays, and lots of peaceful and intimate times on the deck together.  We hope we get a few of those moments this coming summer when we return.

Until then we want to say that this blog is one of the ways we honor the lives of Arthur and LaFonda Dunlap ... two committed believes in Jesus Christ who were willing to do what most people would never consider.  Pam and I are convinced that we could have never spent the last decade here in Uganda without them doing what they have done.

When David, the song writer of the Old Testament, wrote Song 139, he included the following lyrics which celebrated the fact that God really knew him:
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.And in Your book they all were written,The days fashioned for me,When as yet there were none of them.
The chapter of our lives titled LIFE WITH THE DUNLAPS was a major part of the story of our lives even before our lives were contained in our skin.  And, for them to be a huge part of that story, we say, "Thank you Lord."

As my wife wrote to them in an email today, "I'm not crying because you are going.  I'm happy because you came."

We love you Art and LaFonda.  This short video, of a good portion of your family on YOUR deck last summer, expresses our love for you and your family.  Our tribute to the incredible joy that has been our because of you over the past 9 years.  We will miss you seriously.  You will always be dear to us.


2 comments:

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing! !

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    1. Words have really be inadequate to express how much Art and LaFonda mean to Pam and me. But, an effort had to be made for several reasons. I really want people to understand that NGM is a huge team of people doing an amazing variety of things so that any impact can be made in Uganda. Thanks for appreciating.

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