Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Story of Deliverance - Part IV

We had a longer vacation from our story than we anticipated. As Kevin stated in his Part 4, many things got in the way of his thinking and writing. Check it out here on his wife's site, leave him a comment of encouragement if you can, then come back here and read my point of view. (If you haven't read the previous parts of the story, they are linked on my sidebar).

Kev described this part of his journey as "the eye of the storm." That is a very apt analogy. I hadn't thought of it just that way before, but as I look back at that period and read what he wrote, I realize that we were in a period of relaxation with no overt crises. At least not as big as those ahead of us.

High school graduation was a milestone, but was marred by the fact that he was very sick that week-end. It was the 100th anniversary of the school's existence, so it was supposed to be extra special - in the evening instead of during the day, with a fireworks display at the end. Unfortunately, it was SO COLD that May evening that I went to graduation in jeans and a down jacket.

Kevin used the word "luckily" rather tongue in cheek, I believe. Luck had nothing to do with his getting the job with our friends - it was a piece of the incredible puzzle of this troubled life. Even when Kevin felt that nobody at our church had any faith in him, had given up on him, thought he was a loser, these dear friends took a chance on him and hired him several times. It was hard, dirty work, but as he said, he did a lot of growing up during that time. I wasn't aware of the drug use there, and obviously neither were the employers, or all of them would have been gone in a heartbeat. He worked 10 hour days, sometimes even more, beginning at 7:00 a.m. and at times 6:00. He was good with his money at this time in his life.


The Seattle dream was one Kev had for quite awhile. I knew in my heart that it would be a tough road, but we were anxious for him to be able to see a dream come true. Seattle - beautiful place, home of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love - enough said? Rather scary to us. We had spent some time out there when my parents lived in one of the most beautiful little towns close to Seattle. He had always loved the thought of being out there. So he and his buddy outfitted this ancient hippie-looking van and headed for their adventure. They took their time getting there, playing tourist for several days. The reality check of trying to find a job without an address and an apartment without a job hit hard and fast.


As Kev said, it was shortly after returning from Seattle that an even greater adventure presented itself. Our church was taking a Work and Witness team to Mozambique, the second poorest country in the world, second only to Haiti. DC wanted to go, and really wanted Kev to go with him. He asked our pastor if he was willing to take a rebel on a mission trip. Pastor thought about it, prayed about it, and said he would take him as long as Kev attended church once a week until they went, so he wouldn't feel such a stranger with the rest of the team. Kev lived up to this agreement, and we felt so good seeing him walk into church with his Bible in his hands on Sunday mornings. DC ended up not going, but instead helped Kev pay for the trip.

This trip was another piece in the puzzle God was putting together. One of my dear friends was on this trip, one who had been praying for Kev for years. Kev had such a wonderful time on this trip and realized that these church people he had been avoiding for so many years really loved him and cared for him. He worked hard, played hard, had hordes of children following him around every day, took pictures of beautiful things and horrendous poverty. I posted 6 of those pictures on Wednesday (see previous post), and will post more next Wednesday.

Africa really got under Kev's skin. He was so intrigued and he left his heart there. He learned another church close by was going back to the exact same place in 4 months and he set about to make it happen that he would be on that team. This time he paid his own way, and we made several trips to this church to prepare for this trip. At this time, we were sure that his life had turned around and that he could possibly end up being a missionary someday.

One day Kev was looking at my refrigerator magnets. One of them was from our church college in Nairobi, Kenya. It had been on our refrigerator ever since the previous year when DC and I had gone to our denomination's international convention, visited the booth of this university, and brought home the magnet. Such a simple little thing - yet another piece of the puzzle. Kev asked me, "Do you think they'd let me go to school there?" I said I'd sure find out. I found an e-mail address, began corresponding with the administrator, and soon began to make preparations for him to go to Nairobi in January to attend school for at least one semester. To us it seemed such a great way for him to continue his love for Africa, have an adventure, be in a great place, and attend a Christian college.

I don't know everything that happened there. Keeping in touch was difficult because phone lines worked very intermittently. Phone calls were difficult, and e-mail was unreliable at best. But it wasn't long before he was talking to his sister and his cousin about a certain young lady over there. I remember the day I asked him if this tutor who was teaching him Swahili was more than just a tutor. He said, "Oh, Yes!" It was the furthest thing from our minds when we sent him so far away that he would fall in love. He came back here after one semester and the moment he told me he was engaged to this beautiful young lady from so far away is a moment that is indelibly forged in my memory.

The story of getting a fiance visa is one that could cover several posts. I could write a manual on getting through the INS system. It is not a pleasant process. But we persevered and conquered and the visa was finally granted.

I don't know where Kev is going next in his story, so I will wait until I read his next chapter to fill in the blanks from this end. But as he said, the hurricane, or blizzard, or tsunami was building and its destruction would be massive.


Danielle said...

Wow, Dawn. The story continues and I just love the photos. What a journey God has taken you and Kevin on. It truly touches my heart to read of your love and God's love. THANK YOU THANK YOU for continuing to share!

Diane J. said...

As I told Kevin, y'all are really setting up this story, whetting our appetites for the next installment.

Great job telling this story, both of you, Dawn.

Okay, when's the next part due to publish? ;D

Rachel said...

thanks for continuing this story - am anxious to hear what came next.

Rachel said...

hi dawn - this is off topic, but in response to your question - aaron beckum is randy beckum's son. they lived in switzerland at the same time we did!

groovyoldlady said...

I am on the edge of my molasses covered chair, waiting for the rest of the story!

Why is my chair molasses covered? Let's just say that it's starting out to be one of THOSE mornings!

david santos said...

Hello, Dawn!
This work is very good. thank you
have a good weekend

Barb said...

Look at those two boys and that crazy hippie van! What memories that brings back.

You and Kevin are building huge suspense here. I sense something awful is about to happen. I hope you two get busy on part five immediately.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing your mother's heart through Kevin's story, just as you did with your daughter. Anxious to read the next part and will try to wait patiently!

PEA said...

I've just read Kevin's part and now yours...everything seemed to be going so well at this point of his life, it's hard to believe something terrible would happen later!! All I can say right now is that I'm so glad he had the opportunity to go to Africa and to even meet his wife there is an added bonus:-) xoxo

Linda said...

I just love this story Dawn. I think it miraculous when we look back at our lives and see so clearly God's hand. We don't even notice it at the time, but He is there - always. I can't wait to read more.

Judith said...

As I read this part tonight, knowing the "storm" is still coming, I'm so thankful Kevin and all of you made it through it.

We don't hear a lot about miracles, like they are some far away mysterious thing, but it truly is a miracle he survived. I'm sure there's been drug use in my family. Just the little I know of scares me half to death. Your telling this story is a wonderful thing.

staceyhoff said...

Wow! Reading your experience of your son's part IV and listening to the song you selected playing in the background, Iv'e been sitting here with tears just pouring out of my eyes ;)
As a mom who has been very worried about my oldest son, just remembering all I went through with his dad, and seeing some of those same tendencies in him- and fearing- I am so grateful for God's extreme Faithfullness to us, and for being able to now rest in His sovereignty-- I don't have to fear; he- we- are standing on Christ the solid rock !! And I am so, so grateful!!!
Hearing Kevin's story is also really encouraging for me as a Mom, and I really hope that he knows what a great thing he is doing - taking times out from his, I'm sure, very busy life to share his story and share a story of the redemptive power of God with everyone reading. Sovereign! Love that!!!

Lala's world said...

the photos are so great! again I am so glad you guys are doing this, what a great rarity to get a parents and child's perspective on their lives!!

SiouxSue said...

Love the story(ies) from you and Kevin! And the photos, too! Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us.

Dawn said...

I just enlarged one of the pictures and saw a "Lennon" bumper sticker on the back bumper - it really was a hippy van!

MugwumpMom said...

Terrific. These are great to read from both perspectives. God is faithful.

Tammy said...

Great story, Dawn! It's amazing how much God loves each of us...and never gives up!

Tammy said...

PS...the song is perfect! :)

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

What a story this is. The photos are awesome too. God bless you all!

Susie said...

This does seem to be a rather "calm" part of the story..
I'm not sure what comes next, but glad to know that it does have a happy ending!

Maine Mom said...

I'm anxious to hear the next part as well. I know a rough spot in the journey is about to be told, I'm so glad this story and experience has a happy ending!

Kristen said...

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to comment on this.

Having a husband who worked there for two years, I could tell some horror stories about what goes on at that company that I doubt the "management" has any clue of.

I remember thinking after Kevin took his trip to Africa that things were now "safe" and heading towards the high road. Little did we know. I also remember meeting Sema for the first time when he brought her to my office. Such hope.

Again I will say, I'm glad I know the outcome to this story!

Kathleen Marie said...

Dawn, you and Kev really need to make a little book out of this for other people going through a similar experience (the same with your daughter's story). I mean really, what an AMAZING testimony this is!

Hugs to you both!

kpjara said...

I love all your posts so much! I hadn't even realized just how much I missed them til I got 'caught up' tonight!

Blessings and thank you for sharing this story as it turns...