Tom and I (Nancy) left Cape Town the day after Christmas and throughout the month of January we’ve been on a whirlwind of a trip that has included time with family, our sending church, our ABWE ministry partners, lots of meetings and time with several whom God is leading into missions.
As you read this blog post we are in transit, sitting in a Starbucks in the London airport, reflecting on our visit.
Something I realized is that “re-gifting” is much more popular now than I remember, or maybe it has just become more acceptable. Throughout this month, I have been on both the receiving and the giving end of the “re-gifting” process. I was happy to receive some “new” clothes, creams and accessories — missionaries learn early not too be choosy. We’ve also learned to be pretty proficient at re-gifting the messages heard along the way. I used to call it stealing when you reused someone else’s notes, but I like this new term “re-gifting” much better.
For instance, Tom and I were privileged to attend the ABWE Global Operations Summit where we sat under The Word and received rich spiritual encouragement. God, speaking through the lips of fellow missionary Bruce McDonald, gave me a gift from Psalms 37:23 –the reminder that my steps are established by the Lord, which also means that the same is true of the stops God brings our way.
One week later I “repackaged” Bruce’s gift for my 80 year-old mother’s ladies group that had asked me to share a few words at their monthly luncheon. It seemed an appropriate message since I was pretty sure most of these women had experienced some stops in their lives. As I thought about what to say, Bruce’s words were fresh on my mind, but so were the words my mother gave me as a gift a few years ago when she experienced an unexpected and unwanted season-of-life stop.
I remembered the day I was with my mom when she took a simulated driving test to see if she could keep her driver’s license active. The results presented her with an unwelcomed stop but she just looked at me, with tears in her eyes, and said, “He knows…He knows,” and that was enough for her. Over the years, I have made that gift my own and felt it was time to re-gift her message to these ladies, knowing they would benefit from them as much as I had. The One who knows the plans He has for us and establishes both the steps and the stops can be trusted to do what is good. That brings such hope to me as we head home to South Africa.
Two of our goals in 2014 — to begin a new church plant in Hermanus, South Africa and to start an ESL (English as a Second Language) ministry, will include re-gifting. We’ll take the words of eternal life that we’ve received and give them to others. We may have to change the packaging a bit as we move from culture to culture, but that’s okay, as long as the gift (the gospel) remains the same… Jesus Christ died for sinners, was buried and rose again.
So… re-gifting, good or bad? Definitely good!