In January 2017 when asked if we would be willing to return to Swaziland for a second year our spirit was willing. Our yes was followed by immediate action; new passports, TB tests, preparations to teach Biblical Principles at South African Nazarene University, plans for domestic things during our absence. On Sunday night May 7 with many friends we gave a sacred concert at Bethany First Church to raise money for our going.
On May 16 Emmalyn and I were sitting in my cousin’s home in Delaware with my brother and sister-in-law. We all commented how healthy and well we felt in our 70’s and 80;s. I for one hardly knew what illness felt like. Two days later I broke out in a hot sweat and went to bed. Feeling cold I put on a sweater and got under covers with my clothes on shivering cold. Emmalyn took my temperature at 100.7. Before returning home to Oklahoma I went to two clinics. Once home my illness progressed into excruciating pain in my legs and feet. For two weeks I could not sit, lay, or walk without pain. My feet became numb. Walking was torture. My vision became misty like looking through fog. I can’t lift my left arm above my shoulder.
A visit to my primary doctor, three trips to the emergency room followed by many visits to specialist doctors and many blood test have all to this point resulted in inconlusive and unknown reason for my illness.
We kept in close communication with our Swazi Director Barbi Moore and Pastor Rick Harvey. It became obvious I was not physically able to go back to Swaziland in July as planned. Our leaders were marvelous in assuring me my health was most important and that their faith was in God to provide for Swaziland.
Our first agreement with BFC was for Barbi to look for someone else to go in January 2018 but if no one else volunteered Emmalyn and I would go assuming I was well. However that changed as every doctor I visited advised me not to go back to Africa. My illness is still unknown. Better stay home where health care is available and better not to need evacuation should something happen in Africa.
I am writing this on June 29, 2017, the evening of the day Emmalyn and I were to leave with Barbi for Swaziland. God did provide for Swaziland in the person of Jess Jenkinson available to fly out today with Barbi in no small part to do the work in Swaziland we were going to do.
I wish you could have seen the airport scene this morning. It was a time of affectionate love and appreciation for our opportunity to go back to Swaziland and our leaders understanding to let us not go back. It was time of genuine gratitude for Jess and his willingness to venture into the unknown in a critical time of need. We all felt right and good about the way this has worked out.
After a time of prayer as Barbi and Jess walked away from us toward security clearance and the waiting airplane and we walked the other way back to the parking lot to drive home, I could not help but sing in my heart, “be my store great or small I surrender it all to my wonderful, wonderful Lord.” We have peace believing our work in Swaziland will be just fine without us. We believe Jess is perfect for his work ahead. Our love for Africa and Swaziland lives in our hearts now and always.
With gratitude I thank all those who prayed for us and contributed to our cause. Those funds will still be used for Swaziland and the purpose we all intended.