August 18-19, 2011
Blessed be Your Name in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your Name
And blessed be Your Name when I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your Name
This is one of my favorite praise and worship songs... and it took on a whole new meaning to me today. Though the explanation is long, please bear with me while I try to explain why this praise song struck me so deeply today.
Last night (8/18) we ventured onward, adding more air miles to our journey toJaynie's new temporary home. When we landed we were immediately greeted by about a 15 degree hike in the already high temperatures we had faced. And the ground was so dry we kicked up our own dust storm walking from the airplane to the parking lot.
|It was not unusual to have to shake the dust off of everything, especially our shoes|
From there we went straight to a birthday party that was being hosted by several of Jake and Kristen's friends in the area. I didn't actually count, but I would say there were at least a dozen kids there age 10 and under. They were laughing, singing and having a fabulous time... not because of how elaborate the party was, but because of how good the fellowship was. Likewise, the adults were enjoying each other's company, truly drawing strength and refreshment from each other simply because the fellowship is so precious in this land that is far from home.
At that party we met a woman who had grown up working with her mother who did short-term volunteer work every year for an orphanage in the Bryansk region of Russia. That's the region in which we adopted Jaynie 10 years ago. They were amazed when they found out Jaynie was from Bryansk... and drop-jawed when they found out we had 5 other kids from Bryansk as well. An impossible connection made possible because God had connected us across the miles and the years!
We also connected with a couple who had occupied an apartment which was later occupied by some very dear friends of ours. Not that amazing, right? Wrong! The apartment we're talking about is in a remote part of Central Asia! And we ran into these people here at a children's birthday party! How amazing is our God, and how kind to provide these evidences of His providence in the midst of taking Jaynie to live thousands of miles away for the next several months.
As the party broke up we were taken to the house of a couple who has been here about 10 years. They had previously lived in Colorado Springs, not far from where Mrs. Beaver and I grew up! They graciously housed and fed us along with Jake and Kristen's family... no small task!
We awoke this morning (8/19), showered in cold water (actually a blessing), ate breakfast, fellowshipped and then hit the road to our final destination.
We packed 8 people and all our luggage plus a driver into a non-air-conditioned mini-van and headed out on a 2 hour cross-country trek... across the desert. Before we left town, Jake had to make one final security check to see that the road was safe, and off we went.
We saw many things we have never seen before: herds of camels, ancient mud city-walls, armed police check-points, a variety of hot-weather crops and eventually, dry, hot sandy dessert. Lots of dry, hot sandy dessert.
We started the trip at 8:45am to avoid the worst of the heat, but it was a truly hot, sweaty ride. At times we had to ride with the windows up due to dust, but we couldn't keep them up for long due to the temperature in the car. Jaynie and Kristen also had to endure head covering for the entire trip because we were out in a place where they would be seen by local men. However, it was a safe ride, and for that we give thanks!
As we finally neared our destination, we passed the last armed check-point and quickly arrived at Jake and Kristen's home. We were greeted by their local helpers and quickly set about unpacking and settling in.
|Joe and Jaynie in Jake and Kristin's home|
After a brief rest, we ventured around the block to the home of the other family (the W family) that Jaynie will be serving while here. Kristin had phoned ahead and asked C (the wife / mom of the W family) to prepare lunch for us. Here you have to plan ahead... you can't just phone for pizza or head out for fast food.
When we arrived at the W's house, we were greeted by Mom (C), daughter (G), Jaynie's new house-mate (H) and other people who work with Jake and Kristen in this area. The meal was a traditional Central Asian lamb with rice dish which was a very welcome and tasty way to facilitate our fellowship.
|Joe escorting Jaynie as she navigates fully covered for one of her first times out|
Jaynie got a tour of her new living quarters, which are practically luxurious!
After lunch we spent the afternoon mostly resting and talking to avoid the most intense heat of the day. But as the heat waned, Jake took us for a drive to see the town. This is a totally different world! But as you look into the eyes of these people you see the same desires you would see at home: the desire for happiness, for the welfare of their children, for the opportunity to work and have a decent life. Despite our many cultural differences, at the core our wants and needs are really very similar.
|The rickshaw-like vehicles with a motorcycle on the front and covered area in back are common way to get around|
We ended the day with a relaxed picnic on the porch, as it was still very hot inside. Power comes in very unreliable spurts here, making fans welcome but spotty relief from the heat. Today we had a power outage for most of the afternoon, so the house was very hot. Fortunately, as you might expect in a desert location, the temperature started to fall quickly when the sun set.
After we cleared away the dishes we all went inside where we joined in praise, worship and prayer to end the day. Kristen has collected dozens of great praise songs and plays the guitar beautifully. We ended our day singing Blessed be Your Name, which brings me back to my opening comment.
While the hymn writer probably meant something quite different, I was particularly struck by this song today because of the analogies I had experienced throughout the day.
Today and throughout this trip, I have seen places of amazing abundance... and I have seen (quite literally) the "desert place". And in both places I have had reason to say "Blessed be Your Name!" God is good in ease and comfort, but He is also good in the midst of hardship. He is good in the place of plenty and in places of want. In all places and in all circumstances let us acknowledge His goodness by rising up to Bless His Name!