Thursday, March 29, 2012

smoak signals 2

Another cool email from Pamela Smoak, missionary to Tanzania:

Manufactured in Europe, it immigrated at an early age to East Africa.  One day as it was sitting under the bright lights of a shop in Nairobi, Kenya, a missionary wife named Shirley Droke strolled by checking out the buttons, cycles, dimensions and advantages of each machine.  One thing she checked was the price because Shirley had in her purse money from the Ladies’ Division of the UPCI to buy a dryer and Shirley was a good steward of what she had received.
Happy in Shirley’s home on a hill under sprawling shade trees, the dryer was saddened when it was disconnected a few years later and put in storage.  Shirley and her husband Walter Droke were returning to their home in Tennessee.
But one day, the storeroom door opened and Karen Crumpacker, a missionary wife who had just transferred back to Kenya from Malawi, dusted off the dryer and took it home with her.  A couple of happy years of cycles passed before the dryer broke a part that the repairman said was not available.  Back in storage it went.
After a few months another repairman looked at the dryer and said, “I can fix this if you want.”  Karen agreed; the dryer was repaired; but it sat near the new dryer watching it get all the attention, gathering dust.
Late one afternoon, Karen’s husband Jim uncovered the dryer and loaded it into the back of his Sheaves for Christ vehicle.  Not knowing where it was going, the dryer bumped, jostled and tilted its way across Kenya and south into Tanzania.  Arriving at the home of missionaries Richard and Pamela Smoak, the dryer was met with excitement and rejoicing.  For a minute, it thought it was going to get a kiss from Pamela who had been drying everything on a clothes line through rain, dust storms clouds of mosquitoes.
Its adopted life in Tanzania was happy and fulfilled until the Smoaks’ new dryer was installed a year later.  Back in storage!  Feeling neglected and forgotten in the dark container, the dryer looked out the doors to sunlight when the container would be opened occasionally, longing for the life of heat and spinning for which it was created.
Missionary wife Martha Johnson, thrilled with the long awaited resident’s permit to the unevangelized country of Rwanda, was offered the dryer if she wanted it.  “Of course,” was the reply.  So tomorrow, Louis Johnson and Richard Smoak will load the dryer in the back of Louis’s SFC vehicle and export it to Rwanda where it will continue “working for the Lord”.
At last, new life, new country, grateful veteran missionary wife, more tossing and drying as intended by the Ladies’ Division and the thousands of sacrificial donors in North America.  Three countries, four missionary wives and life is not over, yet!

© 2009-2012 by Melani Brady Shock

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

with all thy getting...

Wisdom [is] the principal thing; 
[therefore] get wisdom: 
and with all thy getting 
get understanding.
~Proverbs 4:7

I love higher education. There is so much to learn! One lifetime is just not enough to explore and do and seek and ponder and decide and change and pursue and know and question and...

I am considering pursuing another degree. Just because I want to.

The writings of Solomon give me permission to enjoy this pursuit of knowledge. Wisdom, he called it. It's huge, he said. Get it! It's the principle thing! Wisdom. Taken from the Hebrew word, chokmah, which actually carries a strong connotation of skill and speaks of various forms of shrewdness--prudence--wise.
Solomon put no conditions on the fact that all of us who desire it are free to pursue it.

"Get as much as you can," he said...


with all thy getting...

get understanding.

Understanding.  From the Hebrew word, bynah, carrying the meaning of insight--one skilled in understanding the times, the situations--understanding.

With all of our getting of wisdom and knowledge, may we never neglect understanding. There are those who would argue that it is all intertwined and the knowledge and understanding are speaking largely of the same concepts.

But...what if the writer is referring to something else entirely?

What if the "understanding" is that of knowing that the unknown always surpasses the known?

With all of our getting, may we never forget that the Spirit supersedes degrees and science and academia.

With all of our getting, there is still an entire universe of wonder that can only be explained by the Spirit.

With all of our getting, let us never become so educated that God cannot lead us into explanations and experiences that defy human logic and human reasoning.  

With all of our getting, let us not cease to believe in miracles.

With all of our getting, let us never relegate the very Voice of God--the Word--the Bible into the category of ancient book, ancient manuscript, ancient collection of writings from human authors.  Let us not degrade the wonder of the fact that it is God's Voice into a science of textual criticism as we attempt to explain why this or that matters and this or that does not matter.

With all of our getting, let us not make the mistake of attaching more credibility to someone with letters behind their name than we do to someone who has been alone in a secret place with the Creator in days of prayer and fasting.

I'm thankful for the people of the Name who are pursuing wisdom and knowledge and taking our rightful place at the table of academia.

But...with all of our getting, let us understand that the wisdom of God surpasses the wisdom of men. Every time.

And, with all of our getting, let us understand that we do not need academia to prove the validity, the sanctity, the accuracy, or the authorship of the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the workings of the Spirit in the 21st century.


I want my highest degree to be in that.

© 2009-2012 by Melani Brady Shock