Long before Kevin went to Mozambique, Africa for two back-to-back mission trips, long before he went to Nairobi, Kenya for school, Africa was a part of my life. I had two uncles, two aunts, and four cousins who were missionaries in various parts of Africa. One of my uncles was a pilot, and was privileged to fly the Billy Graham team when they were in Africa for a crusade back in the 1950s. That family buried a daughter in Africa at the age of 6. I was 5, and will never forget that phone call telling us that my cousin nearest to my age had gone home to Jesus - in fact, she was singing "We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer," as her Daddy flew her home from boarding school, never to return.
The magazine "Christianity Today" did an article a few years ago about the cemetery where many missionary kids are buried (including my cousin, Barbie). The article was about the huge sacrifices missionaries have made, especially back in earlier days, and how the children are a part of the sacrifice, due to the calling of their parents. It was a heart-rending article. Most MK's I know are totally willing to be a part of their parents' call. My aunt and uncle came back to the US a few years later, because my aunt had repeated bouts with malaria that were destroying her health.
The other family stayed in Africa for 45 years. My cousin, Ann, married another MK and has been in the desert of Mali for 20 years. In that time, they have seen about 50 converts - talk about dedication to a difficult call! I did a post on Ann and tried to find it to link, but I couldn't locate it.
Ann's mom, my Aunt Gen, was an amazing woman. She was in her 60s when she taught herself to use a computer - she and Uncle Al spent the years of their retirement translating scripture into the language of the people they worked with for so many years. They made many trips back to the field after retirement, taking the Word in their people's language. Gen taught herself to process the translation work on the computer - I was in awe, because I hadn't even learned anything about a computer the last time we visited.
It was at that visit that she promised to make me one of her beautiful necklaces. She and Ann spent a lot of time at markets, buying beautiful stones. She made this amethyst one for me, as well as earrings. I must have given the earrings away. I wish the deep purple showed better in the picture.
Aunt Gen has gone to be with the Lord as well, and I am so happy to have this memory of her.
In my last post (#300), I offered a pair of carved wooden elephant earrings, brought to me from Kenya by Kevin. I promised to show you the necklace he picked out at the same time. I was so proud of the gift he chose for me - this incredibly artistic, carved wooden set of giraffes. Don't ask me how anyone can do such precise work - and how did they get the spots on them? If anybody knows, let me know!
If you haven't signed up for the drawing, go here and let me know you want to be in the running!
For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.