Monday, April 20, 2009
We finally heard from Candyce. After 11 days of silence, my cell phone rang while I was walking with a friend. I could tell by the crazy number it was from Africa so I answered, leaving the amazing conversation I was having with Linda to be continued another day.
It was Candyce! She called to say they'd been kicked out of the refugee camp on the Congo/Sudan border (for Congolese people fleeing LRA attacks) and were back at the YWAM base in Yei. I didn't get all the details, Candyce talks really fast because we always have such a short time to chat, but this is what I did get:
They had a wild and crazy time at the camp. All four of them--Will, Santos (the translator), Stephen and Candyce preached and over 200 refugees came to the Lord. One woman even got miraculously healed (but I don't know the details on that). All this activity apparently ticked off the resident witch doctor, who complained to the U.N. officials who set up the camp. So the little band of believers got asked to leave because they were preaching the gospel.
As Candyce said, they are now refugees from a refugee camp!
I asked about conditions at the camp. She said it was incredibly hot, like an oven in their tent at night, and when it rained, the mud flowed like a river through the tent. She asked prayer for her health as they'd all drunk the same unfiltered water the refugees drank. She wasn't feeling that great.
She also said something about the LRA attacking people on the outskirts of the camp, and the Ugandan army launching a counter-attack--but that the Lord kept everyone safe. Reception was sketchy at that point and I didn't get the details. Which may be for he best.
So, she and Stephen are praying about what's next while they recuperate at the base.
She is scheduled to return a month from today.
A lot of people have asked how I've coped the knowledge that Candyce is in a dangerous place doing risky things. I've prayed lots, actually, and have definitely experienced a supernatural peace. I've had a few anxious moments, however--and even a few nightmares--because of my fearless child. But a few nights ago, the Lord reminded me of something He'd told me about Candyce when she was just a little girl.
And I haven't worried since.
I was at a women's Bible study at the church in Anchorage AK where we served in the early '90s. At my wit's end yet again because of my youngest daughter's strong-willed behavior, I asked the group of women to pray for me (Candyce was probably 5 or 6). An older women, who was visiting from out-of-town, prayed for me and Candyce that morning. And her prayer changed my heart toward my difficult child.
This dear saint, who'd never met Candyce, prayed--or was it prophesied?--that Candyce would have the spirit of the apostle Paul upon her and do great exploits for God. That she would be bold and courageous, walking in the fear of the Lord and not the fear of man. She prayed that God would take her iron will and bend it to His purposes. After we all said "Amen!" to her prayer, I looked at my daughter in a totally different light.
This child, who made me want to resign from parenting on a daily basis, would do great things for God! I tucked that truth into my heart and held onto it tightly from that point on. And it was this very truth the Lord brought to light recently.
"Well, of course!" was all I could say in response to His gentle reminder. "Of course she drove over land-mines, through enemy territory, to go and share the gospel with African refugees! Of course she lived in conditions that make me shudder and drank bad water and picked up who-knows-what parasites and diseases! Of course she's planning on marrying Stephen and embracing this way of life on a permanent basis. What else would God have created her to do?"
Candyce's iron will, bent and shaped to the will of God, will take her places where angels fear to tread. And keep her there, when other hearts have failed and fled.
She truly is (as she called herself as a child) "danger woman" for God!