November 28, 2006

the walk

Hi. My prayer letter didn't send out to people via email - so I'm putting the main part of it here on the blog. It's a story of a walk this month, not sure how that adds up as a prayer letter - its probably better off as a blog entry! Anyway - hope you are well. Next month prayer letter should work out ok! Much love!

A much needed time with the Lord was had this morning – and He spoke to my heart and life as He always does as I wait at His feet. Two nights ago I had a sleepless night and my prayers throughout that night were almost wordless, I didn't have the clear words to pray – but from the night came the simple clarity of prayer – that I would be able to hear and to know God's voice. And the quiet voice of the Lord that spoke in the morning was the words “trust me”.

As I stood looking out the window this morning – looking over the neighbourhood and little roads in between many buildings - some very old, some very new, and out to the mountains in the distance, I heard a small voice – “go for a walk, take the first road you can into the midst of this neighbourhood, go and explore.” I got ready, packed my rucksack with camera, kit-kat, phone, Bible, journal, pen, 1000 Lek (Albanian money) and a few booklets about Jesus. I wondered where this walk would lead me and I was prepared for every outcome or idea I could imagine!

I walked out of the apartment block. Lili was sitting there as always and the thought went through my mind to give her a booklet about Jesus. I figured I would do that on the way back. I stopped for a chat and told her I was off for a walk. She suggested I go the other way, as the way I planned to go was where all the mountain people lived and she didn't have too high an opinion of them and their ways! I said I would be very careful, but wanted to go see the area. I saw a little road, almost blocked with high walls, to the right and thought – “it can't be the way to go can it?” I walked on and saw a little gypsy boy. I saw him meet another young boy about his age, who wasn't a gypsy and they started to push and fight each other. I walked towards them, looked at them with a question and a concern and the boy walked away and the gypsy boy hurried on down the road. I wondered “Lord did you bring me out here on the walk for that boy?” I found the next road to the right, explored and walked down every narrow path and every one led me to a big gate or a big barking dog. I thought “Okay Lord, I'll go back to the first road.” I did, and walked down to find a big gate and a barking dog. So, then further along the other way, I walked through the markets – through all the stalls and little paths right out to the other side. After another dead end and another muddy road I found myself out on the main street beside Isa Boletini statue, in front of my house.

I turned back and thought “Go the other way and take the next road to the right.” On and on, I took every road to the right, every road was a dead end – once with a Catholic church, other times like usual – big walled gates. Now I was way down by Margaret's house. Near that neighbourhood there is a hill that we can see from Margaret's house with an antenna on it. We have felt like trekking up there for a good view and time to reflect, and I thought, “Ah maybe I'll get there today...” but nearing the road I began thinking “Oh, maybe it's all just been about me going to Margaret's house for a coffee and a prayer.” Which would have been good, but in my spirit which was now feeling futile, I was thinking “What on earth am I bothering with this faith walk for!” Then I heard within – “stay on the road, don't turn off, keep going” I sang the song – open the eyes of my heart Lord, and walked on down the road back towards my neighbourhood.

I liked the walk cause it was a wide rocky road with interesting things to look at along the way – like a speeding motorbike in the distance or an old man pulling a big sheep along with him (I did feel sorry for the sheep). At the end of the road was the turning – the right went back towards my home and the left to where the pastor and his wife and family live. I love going there for my lessons. I'd be there all the time happily, but I knew it wasn't a time to visit – so instead did not turn left or right – but went straight ahead. It was grassy – not really a road at all and it was a wide space. Buildings were being built on either side and the view ahead was of mountains and a hill with various species of trees and a catholic church and a fortress. I thought – “Wow, I'll go there!” I walked as far as I could only to meet, at the grassy verge, a big wide ditch with a river running through it. There was no way to even think about crossing, so I turned around and in the other direction view was the hill in the distance with the antenna. On either side were places I would love to go, but it wasn't for today. As I walked quite contentedly back towards the turning for the road that would take me home – I looked at some graffiti on a wall. In big letters was “KA PLLAN” in Albanian it means “HE HAS A PLAN” and I knew that at the heart of my life I had no plan, no map, no idea! But God – He knows exactly, He has the plan, He has the map, He knows it all. Its not even for me to know or to plan the big picture, but it's my honour and joy and mandate to follow and trust in Him, who knows the beginning to the end.

I was ready to go home. The walk had served its purpose. I know the gypsy kids are in my heart, I know sometimes life seems to have no clear direction, I know I love this church here, I know I am so interested in knowing Albania, I know I can try many roads before knowing the right one to take, but most importantly I know God is the only one who knows the plan of my life, and He knows the way I can and will go as I listen to Him and follow Him. I don't know the way, but I know God and I need to trust Him, I want to hear His voice and follow in the way that He leads.

As I neared the apartment block, there was Lili sitting in the sun with her cardigan on and all the little nick-naks she and her husband sell every day. We talked as usual about a good few things and then I asked her if she would like to read something about Jesus. Lili said no, she reads her own religion books – Muslim books, and she is learning from them little by little. I said to her that if the time came that she wanted to know about Jesus – I was ready to share with her. She appreciated it. And we talked more about her mother and other things. We are becoming neighbours and friends.

Please pray that I will know God's voice and know the direction to stay in or to take at the right time. Its really important for me right now. I have surrendered my life and all its plans and ambitions to God, and I do not want to run in any other direction than the one He already knows is best.

1 comment:

Pam Faulkner said...

Dear Beth

If you ever write a book about your time in Albania, it will have to have a chapter headed "Big Gates and Barking dogs!"

Love Pam