When it became clear that Bronwyn and I were indeed supposed to be seriously praying about a change in our lives I chose Isaiah 43 to be the chapter we would read through every day during quiet times. To be honest I picked it quite arbitrary, there was a song with the words from that chapter I used to sing very loudly back in my Camp Lake Stephens days when I was a camp counselor in Mississippi. So we started praying through it, sometimes together and other times separate. This was still kind of the beginning of all this and we had no idea what God had in store for us but we just kept praying. Isaiah 43 has some amazing verses in it if you haven’t read it. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name you are mine”, are right there in verse 1. All the next stuff about God being with you when you pass through the water and fire is also pretty amazing. However the verses that were really playing in my head were 19 & 20.
“Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beast will honor me, and the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people.”.
Now keep in mind this is before we had ever even heard of BlueSky or thought at all about moving to Africa but it’s all there beautifully written. God laying out His plan for us, doing a new thing where wild beast roam, bringing water to the desert. On March 29th when Bronwyn first sent me the text “wanna move to Kenya” I didn’t immediately have these verses pop into my head but on March 30th I did write “I’ve gone in 24 hours from being willing to go to Kenya to wanting to go”. I went back to the verses in Isaiah 43 and God put the picture together. He was calling us out of Memphis and to Nairobi to serve him in a new and awesome way. We were to bring the good news of living water to Africa. But the story of Isaiah 43 doesn’t end there. I mean sure I could talk about how Cush is essentially East Africa or dwell on verse 25 where the author talks about God blotting out sins for his own sake, something Bronwyn and I knew we needed to be reminded of. But the big part of the story was April 30th when our Church, Fellowship Memphis, was teaching on Global Missions of all things and what chapter should Jason Cook teach from but Isaiah 43. I literally shut my bible and just sat there in awe knowing full well we were moving to Africa.
One final bit to the story, the day we got on a plane and flew to Nairobi for the first time was also the day of my fathers funeral. We literally left the cemetery, came home and scarfed down a hamburger, took quick showers because it was July and our AC had gone out the night before and then jumped on a flight. But at his funeral I played and sang the song I had learned at camp so long ago, Isaiah 43. I’m not a very good guitar player and my voice has been described as loud and also very loud but I sang to honor my father and my Heavenly Father. The words pulled straight from the verses we had been praying through for months. “Do not fear, for I am redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.”