I HAVE A STORY
(Bloopers, Blunders & Bad Days)
I have been awake since just after 4am., and ever since have been working on my lesson for this week on the Perspectives Course I am doing. It’s awesome and really opening my eyes to so many things. Mostly that you cannot go running off into any country thinking you can help unless the Lord has run you through the mill first, or you have messed up and then backed up to a fresh look at things. I have done all of those things but am determined to continue changing along the way. We so need to know how to help without hurting, or getting hurt in the process ourselves.
7am.Now I am taking a break, still sitting up in bed with the laptop, listening to some of the most amazing musicians I have ever come across. No idea who they are but it is basically a symphony orchestra; DVD came to me through Ethiopia. Each time I watch it I am struck with the thought that this is how the church is supposed to work. Together, making an amazing sound of symphonic praise filled with gratefulness to the Lord. In tune, in sync, deferring one to another, highlighting one another’s God given talents to His glory.
Just ate my brekky dribbling egg yolks everywhere but in tears as I suddenly realise that ‘I have a story…’, a God given story that He alone orchestrated and has blessed me with. Doesn’t matter if not one other person on this planet knows my story; it is His story through me and I am the one that needs to recognise that.
At Perspectives last week, we talked about Jim and Elisabeth Elliot who were back in the Ecuador Jungle, 1956. Five of the young men in the missionary team were speared to death by the Auca Indians. A tragic disaster that finally lead a former untouched people group to the Lord. Amazingly, I met Elisabeth in Milton, NSW years ago.
Now in class we are talking about Townsend, who started Wycliffe Bible Translators. I spent a week as a volunteer in Wycliffe Linguistic Centre in Dallas, years ago. I was answering phones and having amazing conversations with Linguists as they played with my accent.
I have done a week as a volunteer at Keith Green’s centre, Last Days Ministries, in Texas. I cut stamps off envelopes, cleaned houses, scrubbed toilet blocks and shared a bedroom and one bathroom with 16 young girls. This was all a bit outside my usual realm of expertise, but being humbled really is good for us.
I have sung songs in a market place in the middle of PNG somewhere – and I don’t sing. I tried to explain to young teenage girls in PNG, with sweat trickling down my legs from the humid, steamy weather, why Australian women wear pantyhose…not easy. Doesn’t even make sense to me anymore.
I have preached two streets away from Everley Street in Redfern ( the place even the Police won’t go) , at Peter Walkers Church and discussed marriage with the Aboriginal men. Can you believe that? I learned I am a non-Aboriginal while I was there. In Perth once, I was informed I am an Easterner. I never knew these things before.
In Namibia I learned the destruction and desolation that follows when people suddenly find themselves with a new name – Refugee. Millions of people have found themselves without home, country, family or future; all ripped away for no fault of their own, other than the greed and destructive actions of other men. I have learned to sit on the ground in the dust; how to pray for food before you stick your hand in the same bowl of food to share with those who don’t know if they we will eat again tomorrow or the next day or ever again. I have become friends with people who have nothing material left, but own so much in eternity because of the Lord in their life and His Spirit in their heart, enriched to the point that they are willing to share what could be their last meal…with you.
I have dared to take on Immigration simply because I was too stupid to know different and then finally too stupid to give up. I have a God that thinks the same way. I guess that’s because we come from a different Kingdom. He has the ability to take the ruling power off whoever thinks they own it and place it, for a space in time, into your hands to save the life of one man. Hey, that one man just started his second year in University doing his BA in nursing. He also just married one of the local girls that I have watched grow since she was a baby. How awesome is our God? But I must acknowledge with all that is in me, that through the tears disappointments, rejections, and lack of support in that eight year battle, I now can see I have learned the art of spiritual warfare, the healing substances concealed within oceans of tears, and that my fingers have been trained for war.
I have been in the most amazing places and know beyond doubt, from personal experience, that Nigerians eat the hottest chilli peppers and yes, I have been ripped off by one of their Pastors. Scammed to the very lining of my purse. Not all who say ‘Lord, Lord,’ will be acknowledged.
I have been left stranded at Heathrow Airport by a guy at the local church that was supposed to host me for two days, who refused to come for me. Ah man, I am well trained in the art of diplomatic sidestepping when forced to make five calls to the same guy while standing at the Information Desk at Heathrow. While trying to get one rebellious elder to help me and stop taking advantage of the fact that his Senior Pastor was in Africa at the time, I had gained a viewing group of five Airport Attendants as I begged for help. Hardest part was answering their question “You did say you were calling a Church”? Did the guy ever relent and come and get me? No. My training in learning to ‘deal with it ‘and find an alternative, is progressing well.
I have been verbally hurt, misunderstood, left behind, viewed as a dollar sign and belittled at times. And now I have a story. I have a story that is so unique, so different from anyone else’s, but is filled with meaty pieces and well seasoned. More disasters and mishaps that anyone deserves, but these physical and emotional gymnastics have truly developed my patience and expanded my compassion for the downtrodden, misplaced and unloved.
I am on my own far too much to my liking, but I know from the years in quietude in strange places, strange homes, and my own home, that these experiences have built my faith in a God that never fails me.
Definitely not a socialite, but I have had breakfast with Ronald Reagan when he was President. Oh yes, there were 29,999 others there too. I have been driven around Johannesburg by the same Pastor that drives Copeland and Hinn when they are in town. I have stayed overnight in Riverland California, with two people that work for Benny, have seen his Media Centre in LA, had my photo taken with Benny’s Portrait, and been prayed for by his Office Staff.
Have eaten breakfast with Franklin Graham (Christmas Child Project) as well as the Mayor of Cape Town, in Cape Town, SA. Oh yes, 250 other Pastors turned up for breakfast at the same time. Finally, I admit, my life is full of amazing moments.
I am not well known on the International scene, do not speak at full-on Conferences, or big time churches; My name does not feature in newspapers or appear on TV. And that is fine with me, it is Jesus that it is all about. But… one night I went to visit a ‘Baptocostal’ Church in Manhattan with my friends; I discovered I was at a Concert of Prayer. There were a whole lot of speakers who came up one after another to introduce the topic of prayer, and then we would pray over that topic.
The night was almost over when the MC announced only three more topics to pray for. I went into a kind of fog when I heard him introduce the last speaker – visitor from Australia, Pastor Lynne Drake, who would come up and pray for the world! I thought no one knew I was even there! Then I remembered walking through the front door that night, large oak doors swinging on old fashioned hinges, church of stone slab, steeple and stain glassed windows; I had looked up as I entered & asked “Lord, just once in my life, can I please speak in a church like this?” I guess that is when He answered and said “Oh, alright, how about tonight?”
He answers while we are yet speaking. So I guess it just pays to ask at times?
Yes, and you have a story too. It is still in the formation stage and like me, you probably still have a ways to go, but you will come through it and one day, get to write your story too.
So I guess I started this letter to say what a tough time I have had in the past, but on reflection, instead I want to apologise for all the whinging and whining along the way, for during the formation of this epistle, I had a glimpse of the truth and I am sure the Holy Spirit was the instigator of it. Now I realise that I am in the process of being taken from my Billy Cart beginning, into the latter stages of my transformation into a Maserati. Hallelujah!
Now I realise that “I have a story!”. It has the backing of the Author and Finisher of my faith. Jesus. Editing rights go to the Holy Spirit who is still fiddling with the thing, nothing less than perfection for Him. My Father is beaming away, as He sees that yet another Lesson is being recognised and acknowledged…and the wisdom learned, tucked away till the needy apprentice is brought into my life, eager to avoid the multitudes of mistakes that I have made.
Lynne Drake ©
Woman with a Mission
Caring for Widows & Orphans in Africa