Thursday, December 27, 2007

January Prayer Letter

I feel as if I'm not posting much of anything here lately, but that is not for lack of having anything to say. Or maybe it is. Or maybe it's just not having words to describe this inbetween place I am experiencing. It's a netherland-type place of not knowing where I belong and really unlike anything I've ever experienced. I'm here, but I'm not and I'm going to a place I've visited, but that is still so foreign to me in so many ways...language, culture, host-families, new community.
I guess at this point I have to be sure of the calling. And I am. Realizing that if I turned around now, my life would be missing something, even if I don't know what that something is and I would be the poorer for it.
So, here's the prayer letter...please pray for me. Thank you, friends...

January 2008
I’ve just said good-bye to my sister and three little faces whose small bodies I held tightly so I could remember how they felt in my arms. I don’t know when I’ll see them again and the weight of our farewell is heavy. Now I find myself waiting for my plane, blinking away tears, hiding my sobs and wondering if my life will be a sequence of heart-breaking farewells in airport security lines. I see me, choking back tears as I give my ID and boarding pass to security, stumbling to a conveyer belt where I lay my bag, pull off my shoes and coat, and walk barefoot through a metal detector. I turn to say good-bye until I can no longer see those faces I love and I hope that time indeed will pass as a mist, a vapor, and I will soon be saying hello rather than good-bye.
Two months ago this scene was first initiated when I left Portland. Another sister, three different little faces, but the ache was the same, the sting of tears, the tightness of throat. Today I wonder if I am up to this task of saying good-bye, of my heart breaking. I keep thinking: I didn’t sign up for this.
I am finding myself humbled by my need for love. Jesus said we must become like children to enter the Kingdom. I used to think that meant having child-like faith, believing with innocence and assurance. I’m reminded that a child not only easily believes and trusts but they are also dependent. Because a child is young and lacks the ability to care for themselves they must rely on others to provide for and sustain them. I’m a fairly independent woman. Asking for help is a big deal to me. I don’t like to be seen as needy, and I certainly don’t like feeling needy. But I feel as if I am becoming a child, one who desperately needs the sustenance of love. And in this child-likeness, I am learning humility.
In church a couple weeks ago, the pastor said when we are humbled we know we are in God’s will. I’ve always equated success or being blessed with being in God’s will, but not humility. My neediness is a blessing? Being seen as anything less than self-sufficient is an indication of where I’m supposed to be? Going from being an independent woman to the dependence of a child is a part of God’s will? Perhaps it’s because when everything is stripped away I am left with nothing less than myself, before God, needing desperately to wrap myself in Him who will provide for all my needs. It is humbling. I feel like a child. And I don’t want to be found anywhere else.
This humility also gives me fresh eyes to see the neediness of those I go to serve. Perhaps the humbleness of their situation is not only about poverty, but a need of the heart. Mother Teresa once said that there is no greater pain than the ache of loneliness. At their very core, these are needs only God in His perfect love can fill, needs I am hoping He will use me to help ease.
So, I humbly say that I need your prayers. Pray that I will say good-bye well. Pray that the time I have left with those I love in California will be sweet. Pray that I will remain humble.
I’d also ask for your prayers in the following areas:
• Adjusting to a new language and culture.
• Protection in travel and health.
• Housing accommodations, lack of privacy, differences in living standards, lack of accustomed conveniences.
• Loneliness and homesickness.
• Developing new relationships with Word Made Flesh community and those we serve.
• The children and families that Word Made Flesh serves in Galati, Romania.
• Need for wisdom, compassion, self-discipline, boldness, power, love, and to be filled with the Spirit of God.
• Future ministry opportunities in Moldova with Word Made Flesh.
I am still hoping to leave for Romania to serve with Word Made Flesh sometime in late February of 2008. Before I can go I need to have 3 months of support raised, as well as the price of a round-trip ticket. My budget each month is set at $1,100, which will cover such needs as housing, transportation, food, and health insurance and other necessities such as taxes and administrative expenses. I would be honored and thankful if you would like to support me financially. Enclosed in this letter is a slip of paper that will help you know how to do that. You can also give online by clicking here.
Another airport security line good-bye looms in my future, only this time I’ll be flying to Romania and the departure will hold a host of anxieties. Still, I’m learning that even an airport security line can be sacred and a place of holiness, where I stumble barefoot and humble before God, holding nothing (because it’s being screened on a conveyor belt), crossing this line (a metal detector) that carries the enormous weight of love and eternity and the glory of a King.

My love,
April
P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Please email me at april.folkertsma@wordmadeflesh.com. If you’d like to learn more about Word Made Flesh and what they’re doing around the world and in Romania, click here.

5 comments:

JamieB said...

Great letter, Bepo. You made me cry, again. I was making coffee this morning and thinking about how you made your tea with half n half every day and how i miss you. the spare room/bathroom doesn't smell like you anymore. i have thought about taking a shower in there and using the shampoo you left behind!
i love you so much...

la femme elisabeth said...

okay, can you warn me not to put on makeup before you write these letters next time??? can you say Crying?! i love you and am excited to see you soon!!!!!

amanda said...

beautiful april. i loved reading your letter.
praying for you,
amanda

k & k said...

praying for you...

Josh and Robin said...

Dear April,
Thank you for sharing this. This is a rich but hard part of your call. Take heart. There are moments of joy so deep that lay ahead...moments you'd never know if you weren't following Him to share your life with these children in Romania. We are waiting and praying for you here.
Love, Robin

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