The Story that is My Life

My life as it has been and as it continues to unfold is a story. One story made up of many stories. One complex, yet simple story. One sometimes messy, but so beautiful story. One story that I wonder if it might be interesting to be told.

This blog is my attempt to put part, or parts, of that story into words, pictures, or whatever form my mind can wrap itself around or create from within myself to express what it is like to be the one inside Cindy's Story. This is an exploration on my part and on yours in reading, and seeing, and maybe even hearing. It is not necessarily chronological. It might not always make sense, but it is my expression. It is me.

You are invited to see how my story unfolds.....

Monday, July 6, 2015

Five Songs to Get Me Through Kenya

As I sit here in an air conditioned coffee shop in America, on a hot day in mid summer, drinking my Carmel Ribbon Crunch decaf Frapuccino, it is hard for me to feel the same feeling that I felt 14 years ago in Africa.

I had been living in a village in Kenya in East Africa for nine months.  I was 25 years old, single, and very far from home on my own.  I lived in the village of Muthyoi with an African family.  I was a missionary to the people there and my desire and job was to share the good news of Jesus with them.  I wanted to live in such a way that my foreignness was not a hinderance to the message I had to share.  Because of this, when I arrived in Africa, I did not bring with me things or technologies that might bring extra attention to myself.  My white skin stood out enough when surrounded by all black faces.

For six months, I was the only "Mzungu" (white foreigner) in this village, then for six months another single gal, who was just out of high school and from another country, joined me in the village.  There was no electricity or running water,  no vehicles or paved roads, no coffee shops with air conditioning or specialty drinks.  It was wonderful in many ways, but it was very difficult in many overall.

One of the things that I did not bring with me to Africa was any type of music.  I did not have a radio, or CD player, or even a cassette tape player.  In the small brick house that I lived in, it would become very quiet once the sun went down at 7:00 each night.  I was left alone to eat my dinner that the house girl had cooked for me over the fire in the mud hut that was the kitchen.  I could read by karosene lamp light or play solitaire with my deck of cards, or plan for what I was going to teach the next day at church or at the primary school, but the quiet of the evenings left time for my mind to play tricks on me and bring me down.

Growing up back in the U.S. I had listened to music constantly.  The type of music that I listened to could often indicate the mood that I was in at the time.  I also played the piano, which was a way of expressing my feelings.  Out in the African village, I did not have my outlet for expressing how I felt.    I did not have anyone from my culture to talk to, so any difficulties I had understanding the culture or doing my job of teaching, etc...stayed stuck in my head.

By the time six month had passed of living this way, I decided that, for my sanity, I needed music and a voice from the outside world.  So, next time I went to the city, a fellow missionary lent me a world band radio and the high school girl that came to join me in the village brought with her a portable CD player run on batteries.  This was sooo exciting for me!  I went to the only Christian music store in the city and bought one CD.  There were not many options.  I chose one by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers.  This CD I listened to over and over again for the next months.

I felt that many things were weighing on me in Kenya.  They were draining my energy and making me sad.  So, I have written this all right now as an intro to share the words to five of the songs from the Brooklyn Tabernacle CD that encouraged my soul at that time in Africa.  At that difficult time when I had many reasons to be unsure about myself and my circumstances, this music of Jesus helped me hold on.  I found these words of the songs written in a letter to a friend of mine from May 4 of that year I spent in Africa.

Put All Your Trust in Jesus Today
Jesus has promised to love and care for you.
No matter the pain or the problem, He'll be faithful to see you through, if you...
Put all you trust in Jesus today.  You'll find rest when His will you obey.
He will answer whenever you pray.  So put all your trust in Jesus today.
My friend, don't be discouraged when problems come your way.
Just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and he'll give you a brighter day, when you...
Put all your trust in Jesus today.  You'll find rest when His will you obey.
He will answer whenever you pray. So, put all your trust in Jesus today.

Jesus Will Make a Way
I've been tested and been tried, tossed by winds on every side,
Faced mountains in my way, couldn't see the light of day,
In my desperate hour, I just called on His name, and found that Jesus He made a way.
Jesus will make a way.  Jesus will make a way.
Through every dark cloud, through every day, I know that Jesus will make a way.
I've been tired and so afraid, been discouraged and so down,
Was tempted to be loved, and felt so ashamed,
But the day that I looked at Him, and I called out His name, I found that Jesus He made a way.
I know that Jesus He'll make a way.

God is Able
The decree came down to all the land, to the people in the kings command,
Bown down to the dusty ground when they heard the trumpet sound
But the children of God refused to kneel.  They defied the king with a firey zeal.
They were thrown in the flame that day, but you could hear the children say...
God is able.  God is able to deliver from the fire.
He will rescue those who serve Him when the flames are burning higher.
Don't you know that some things never change, and the firey trials are still the same.
The saints of God must face the test if you can stand above the rest.
Take courage friend and walk on through.  The Lord will face the fire with you.
Stand with the saints and say... My God will provide a way.

Hiding Place
The Spirit of the Lord is in this place.  Our hearts are warmed by His embrace.
All our doubts and our fears we find erased when the Spirit of the Lord is in this place.
Hold me, hold me.  I'm in the midst of the storm.
Jesus hold me, hold me.  I'll be safe in my Father's arms.
You are my hiding place.  You are my hiding place.
In the shelter of Your presence I find I'm safe.  Lord, You are my hiding place.
I'll be safe in my Father's arms for You are my hiding place.

God is Gonna Finish Just What He Started
God is gonna finish just what H started, even though the waters got to be parted.
Lift up your hand, don't be broken hearted.  God is gonna finish what He started in you.
He who began a good work in you is able to complete it.
God is gonna finish what He started in you.

These songs were such an encouragement to me.  It was good to know that God was going to finish the work that He started in me.  I could put all my trust in Jesus those days, knowing that He was able to deliver me from anything that could come against me, and have confidence that He would make a way for me.  He was my place of safety.  I knew then, that I could always hide in Him.

I hope this encourages you as well.