The Stories: In which He comes as the Author of our Days (Part II)

22 07 2013

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{Continued from the previous post . . .}

As I wrote in Part I, “Grace included one other thing in the padded envelope. A CD. And it opens another subplot that involves other characters, and evokes other joys, and reveals more layers this divine Author wrote into His intricately scripted, interwoven tale — a whole new chapter for another day.”

Well, friends, today is that day, and this is that new chapter. But first, a bit of back story.

Before I left for Kazakhstan, I wrote a series of posts introducing some of the special friends who would be attending camp. One of those posts featured Baxa. In case you missed it, here’s the brief bio he wrote about himself (emphasis mine):

Name:  Baxhtiar  Jigalov
Birthday:  March 10, 1988
I love: my mom, my dad, my sister.
I know: a lot.
I do: daily exercises.
I collect:  material about the Native American peoples.
I eat: everything.
I know how to: ride on a horse.
I read: the Dalai Lama.
I watch: educational programs.
I dream: of going to America.

Baxa is a big fan of America in general and Native Americans in particular. And when he says he knows “a lot,” it’s no empty boast. Using mostly online resources, he has taught himself to speak English. And he loves to practice it.

So, when Baxa found out his camp buddy would be Jason from America, you can imagine how excited he was.

IMG_0764I snapped the above photo with my phone right after they met for the first time. As you can see, Baxa is already talking up a storm. And check out his hair — an intentional tribute to his Native American heroes.

IMG_0963My friend Catherine captured this shot, most likely during one of their many “Jason, we make conversation” moments. Note the FBI cap and Native American motif on Baxa’s t-shirt. He means serious business.

Okay, back story over. Here we go.

It was the day camp ended, and our team had just returned by bus to Almaty. We decided to walk a couple of miles to a shopping center, and on the way, Jason told me about his time with Baxa. Over the course of their four days together, Baxa had repeatedly expressed a desire to come to America and become a permanent resident, and he’d asked Jason to help him. For a number of reasons, this is not something Jason can do, but he does want to maintain a friendship with Baxa and to encourage him, especially in his understanding of the gospel. He wondered aloud how to strike a healthy balance — to let Baxa know that he really does love him, but not to make promises or raise hopes he can’t fulfill.

As I listened, I felt Jason’s frustration and genuine concern. There are only so many ways to be a true and present friend from across the ocean. As we pondered his options, I suddenly had an idea.

“My daughter and her husband are professional musicians,” I said. ” I wish I had a copy of their band’s most recent CD for Baxa. The cover art depicts Native Americans, and on the actual CD there’s a stylized drawing of a hummingbird by a talented Native American artist.”

“Oh, wow! That would be perfect,” Jason said. “Too bad we can’t buy it here. I’ll definitely mail one to him. Can I get it online?”

“I’ll send you one,” I said. “But I wish there were some way you could give it to him in person!”

He agreed, but there was nothing to be done. I told him I’d be sure to get a copy to him once we were back in the states.

But God had other plans.

The next morning I opened my padded envelope, and looked inside to retrieve my note for June 29. And I saw it. Taped to the card for June 30. A JUBILEE CD.

I was stunned. Excited. Amazed. All of the above. I sat there on the edge of the bed, just staring. And then I broke the rules.

I opened the June 30 card a day early. And this is what it said:

IMG_1529“Choose someone special”? I laughed out loud. The choice had been made for me. Now we just needed to figure out how to get the CD to Baxa.

That afternoon I was scheduled to speak at Almagul Church in Almaty, at a gathering of local believers. When our team arrived, two of the moms from camp had also showed up. They missed us too much to stay away, they said. One of them was Baxa’s mom.

IMG_1062

We told her the story behind the CD, and the amazement on her face mirrored our own. Though we didn’t get to experience Baxa’s reaction first-hand, he emailed Jason that he loves it, and that he’s still practicing his English. I imagine him listening carefully to the lyrics, hearing and understanding subtle truths and beauties, being drawn to the Inspiration behind it all. Always, in so many unseen ways, the Author is working, moving, orchestrating, choreographing. And sometimes? He gives glimpses.

Typing this post, the sense of awe I felt at the time has returned just as strong. Could there possibly be any adventure more exciting than this life of faith? Oh, for eyes that remain focused on Him and ears attentive to His voice! Whether it’s serving in foreign lands, washing another dish, or passing along a CD, nothing is insignificant to Him.

It’s all part of the story. The one story, in which He increases and we decrease — in which we are given “the incredible gift of LIFE” to lay it down again and again, only to see Him bless, break, and distribute in ways we never would have asked or imagined. And we discover the extravagant joy of receiving every moment with wide-awake gratitude and pouring it back out as priceless ointment on His feet.

It’s the story in which suffering becomes blessing, and our children become our teachers, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Birthday, Grace. Thank you for being the gift.

* * *

It’s not too late to donate to this beautiful
and worthy work in Kazakhstan.

Gifts received before September will help
cover summer projects.
Donations can be made by check or credit card.
Please send checks to:

Orphanos
P.O. Box 1057
Cordova, TN 38088
901.458.9500 ext 223

Include a separate note indicating the gift is for
“A Friend at All Times, Kazakhstan Young Life”
This category is not available for online giving at Orphanos,
but you can give by credit card at the phone number provided above.

Any amount is greatly appreciated.
Your gifts are tax deductible.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section.

Thank you!
(With all my heart.)


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8 responses

22 07 2013
kingfisher

I’m smiling! I’ve been so tired, and in pain, but better than for several days (thanks to having to take some extra medicine), So trying to push myself to get caught up on a little cooking. By the time I finished that, I felt rather dreary and the Lord seemed just a bit far away. And then I read your lovely story about Christian caring and sharing, and God-incidences. So now I’m smiling again.

Thank you for being you! Thank you for being faithful to carry out your part in God’s intervention..

And I thank God, too. Though I’m not able to go off to foreign places, or even hardly to get around here at home, I’m trying to do my part in God’s intervention — through my prayers. The love and caring you showed for these new friends makes me feel so glad that Jesus’ love is being sown in tangible ways. We hear so much bad stuff on the news, it’s refreshing to hear that God is still moving in a mighty way to minister his comfort and hope.

26 07 2013
jeannedamoff

Oh my goodness! I am more and more convinced that prayer is THE greater work of God! There is no doubt in my mind that everything we saw and did was directly influenced by prayer. It is such a mystery how the Lord uses prayer, and I truly desire to be a student in that school as long as I live. THANK YOU for your obedience to Him — that you are pressing through your pain and weariness to do the hard work of intercession. I am convinced that eternity will reveal the greatest saints that ever lived were hidden behind closed doors, on their knees, bringing heaven to earth through their prayers. So much love to you. (And thank you for your kind words. xo)

22 07 2013
Patricia Hunter

Love, love, love!!!! Only God. Only. God. I’ve been leading a group of ladies through Beth Moore’s study on the book of James and this morning I previewed the next video teaching from Beth. In this session she said something I’ve heard her say in previous studies. “There’s NO high like the MOST HIGH” Gives me chill bumps to see read your stories, Jeanne. Again, thank you. God is so good. So, so good!!!!

26 07 2013
jeannedamoff

Ha! I love Beth Moore. :)

Thanks, Patricia. I really am in awe of all God did in Kazakhstan, and I want to carry that awe into all the “normal” routines of life now that I’m back in the states. He is the same, glorious, ever-present God, working out His plans with perfect faithfulness, and I don’t want to miss a single thing! Beth is right. There’s no high like the Most High. Love you.

24 07 2013
backfromtheborderlands

Love it! What fun to see how our amazing God is working in “small” and not so small ways. I used to live near the Almagul in Almaty. I bet we have some mutual friends.

26 07 2013
jeannedamoff

Hi, Julie! What a pleasure to meet you! I bet we do have some mutual friends. What were you doing in Almaty? Do you know the Burns family?

27 07 2013
backfromtheborderlands

Yes! They were our neighbors for a few years. We were doing a similar kind of work as they were.

31 07 2013
Jody Lee Collins

Oh, Jeanne, what an amazing God we serve. I hope to meet that beautiful daughter of yours soon…her mom did a good job.
Happy tears here, lots of happy tears.

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