Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seasons

Written by: Sarah
 
My favorite season is fall.  I love the beauty of the changing leaves, the crisp cool air, the harvest festivals, and the abundance of a favorite snack – caramel apples.  In America, I loved taking our kids to fall festivals – hay rides, hay mazes, and pumpkin picking. 
If it weren’t for my calendar telling me it’s October, I would have no idea that it is.  Here in Niger it does not feel like fall – at all!  No leaves changing colors, no fall décor in the local grocery store, no candy corn for sale, no crisp cool air…only 95 degree sun shine filled days.   Just a few weeks ago I hung up a scarecrow sign on our door that says “Happy Harvest” and every time I walk past it I am reminded what time of year it is…but it just feels so strange.     
 
Here in Niger we have three seasons – cold season, hot season, and rainy season.  We like to consider them hot season, ridiculously hot season, and hot and humid season.  Currently rainy season is just finishing up and ‘cold’ season is around the corner (yeah!).   Even though they don’t have the typical 4 seasons we are used, there are still things that change with each new season.  Different foods are available, different weather occurs, different jobs are done, people move depending on the season…things change. 
Thinking about seasons reminded me of the passage in Ecclesiastes chapter 3… “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;…”  and the passage continues with 16 more ‘time to...’ phrases. 
What seasons have you been through recently?  Think about the past few years... maybe you have experienced times of laughing, times of seeking, times of losing, times of healing.  Maybe you’ve had great seasons of growth or great seasons of joy and maybe you’ve had difficulties and struggles.  But the things about seasons are – they change.  If you’re in a difficult season, be faithful and patient and trust the Lord to bring you through it and to strengthen you.  If  you’re in a good season, don’t forget to give God the glory and the thanks.
For me, I am in a season of raising young children.  Our girls are 6, 5, and 3.  They are slowly getting to the age where they can help me and be responsible for some things, but for the most part they are very needy.  They demand a lot of my time and love – especially living out here in the village, because other than Jody and I, they have very little interaction with English speaking adults who can give them that attention.  So for me, this is a season which is difficult and tiring, but also fun and rewarding.  My girls are so sweet and encouraging to me and it’s so much fun watching them learn and grow and mature.  As far as ministry goes, my main ministry is my family.  I am a wife and mother first and a missionary second.  Some days I wish I could do more ministry or be more useful…but I am reminded of the importance of my role and even the fact that the time I spend with my children is in itself a witness and testimony to the community around us.  I also have to remember this is a season…be patient, be faithful, and trust the Lord. 
Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes the author is searching for the purpose of life, and trying to make sense of things.  He has seen good and evil and he has seen that in all life is short and when we die we won’t take anything with us that we’ve worked so hard in this life to acquire.  So what is the point of everything?  Well, I love the end of the book when the author comes to this conclusion about life, “The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”  This life is short and temporary, but eternity is forever.  We have to be concerned about our relationship with God and have to be prepared for what comes after this life.  God will judge our sins, the question is will you take that punishment or have you trusted in Christ to take it for you?  So no matter what season of life you find yourself in right now - difficult or easy, heartache or joy -- fear God and keep His commandments.  Honor Him with your life.  Trust Him. “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

This is how we spend our fall days...swimming!
 

Bringing in the Harvest! This is a donkey cart that was bringing a load of millet into our village. This particular one is broken down on the side of the road...the tire broke down not the donkey if you were wondering. :)

2 comments:

  1. I, too, love the fall. How odd it would be never to have the seasonal changes we enjoy here in the States. But, from reading your blog, I know you will come up with fun ways to help the girls enjoy the "cold" season.

    It is wonderful that you are able to spend your time "just" being a Mom to your daughters. Some day, you will have time to reach out to others more than you already do, but parenting is the best ministry possible at this season in your life.

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  2. Wishing your family a wonderful Thanksgiving there in Niger. I'm sure Ada would love to have you in Ohio, but you are where God desires for you to be. :)

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