Sunday, September 01, 2002

The Woman and the Well

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat … without money and without cost. Isaiah 55:1

I don’t understand the timing of the Lord. While I have learned to trust Him with my schedule, there are still financial provisions, time constraints, too many places to go, too many people to see that leave me full of questions with no answers! He makes me laugh with His sense of humor about my “itinerary” and He grows my faith with His timing of where and when I go – into the “wild blue yonder”.

In 1999, after my first Wheels to the World trip to Romania, I spoke to the national director of the distribution and said, “can I please go on EVERY trip to deliver wheelchairs?” He laughed at my enthusiasm, and replied “well, I guess you will be with us in Ghana in March”. I was thrilled to be a small part, seeing how the gift of a wheelchair made such an immediate life-changing impact on lives. In January of 2000 I eagerly went to the health department, rolled up my sleeves and took all the necessary shots required for Africa. Yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis – bring on the vaccinations, I am ready to go! But the Lord had another plan.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Prov 16:9

Not too long after the soreness in my arm wore off I received a call from the national office of Joni and Friends regarding the upcoming distribution in Ghana. The voice on the other end of the line said, “our team is fully staffed, and we just don’t see how a clown will fit into the program established there”. I sighed heavily, but knew somehow, someway, someday the Lord would fulfill my desire. I was busy throughout the year traveling to new places and old (Bosnia, Siberia, Russia, Israel) and rested knowing the Lord was in full charge of my goings out and comings in.

You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; Ps 139:1-3

In January 2001, I received a strange invitation on my voice mail. Someone I met in Israel several years before called to say “there is a trip to Ghana with Samaritan’s Purse next month, and it sounds like it might be something you’d be interested in – here is the number to call…” I did not pass go, I did not collect $200 dollars, I did not put the receiver down – I made the call! (see 2001 Volume 9 Issue of the Forecast) When I heard the requirements and specifics of the trip, I knew without a doubt the Lord was opening a door to Ghana and I was not only ready to step through it, I was inoculated for it!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8
By the time my second trip for Samaritan’s Purse in February of 2002 came around I decided to check when Wheels for the World would be in Ghana. Seeing it would coincide with my time there, I called the national office of Joni & Friends Ministries to offer my services. With my prior experience in Africa, the program facilitator suggested I contact William Agbetti, the director of Echoing Hills, who heads the distribution of wheelchairs out of Accra. After exchanging several emails, with explanations of what CARE EE can do, has done, is willing to do, he replied “sounds like a distribution with no clown is no fun!”

The Lord was orchestrating one of His great mysteries between 2001 and 2002. The in-country missionaries (Alan and Patsy Fulton) who organized the Samaritan’s Purse distribution were primarily in Africa to dig wells. The night before we drove out to meet William, Alan received an email from his parent organization in the US (Living Waters) stating, “We have money for well projects, as much as you need, just submit the project and the money is available”.

“See if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Malachi 3:10

Driving the next morning, Alan wondered as we approached Echoing Hills, how the facility got the water needed for the 30 mentally challenged and disabled residents and the substantial support staff who care for them daily. Seeing the location of the compound situated at the bottom of a valley he said, “This looks like a good place to dig a well.” After the initial introductions were made, Alan asked one of the most important questions in Africa, “Where does your water come from?” William explained the cost of a digging a well on the grounds was so high, they were forced to pay a premium price to have water brought in twice a week by truck.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: … The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. 2 Peter 3:8-9

As the conversation progressed, William’s eyes filled with tears realizing how the Lord had arranged the paths of a Texas clown, two transplanted well drillers from Odessa, and an African serving the disabled in Ghana! We all praised God for the miracles in His providence and timing. If I had gone to Africa in 2000 (my original desire), I never would have met two missionaries who happened to be handling the Samaritan’s Purse distributions aside from their well drilling projects. And if I hadn’t met them, Echoing Hills would not have water freely flowing from the two wells today funded by Living Waters. I learned once again sometimes the Lord’s small “not right now” answers lead to BIG miracles in parched lands and desert times!

For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Isaiah 35:6