Part 4 – Only a Messenger

Posted at Jun 8, 2016 7:16 am

Karen Solem did just as she promised.  I wept tears of joy when she called to say she’d found a home for the proposed manuscript.  

Shortly after Beaded Hope was released, Jennifer and I received our first invitation to speak to a women’s group at a church across town.  Kim, an associate pastor’s wife who initiated the call, explained how she’d been out running errands and started to drive past her local library when she felt a sudden compulsion to turn around and go inside.  She did, and was instantly drawn to Beaded Hope which was on display.  After giving the book a quick read, and realizing we didn’t live far away, she asked if we’d come speak to ladies at her church and give them an opportunity to purchase Beaded Hope products.

Jennifer and I were so excited, we jabbered all the way to the other side of the city.  We were anxious, too, being it was our first outing.  But we needn’t have been.  As it turned out, the evening wasn’t about Beaded Hope at all.  Or at least not solely about Beaded Hope.

After Jennifer and I both took our turns, sharing about our Beaded Hope journey with the church ladies, Kim came to the stage to lead everyone in a closing prayer.  She was less than ten seconds into the prayer when her daughter, who was sitting in the audience, blurted out, “I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I have to.  Because there’s someone here tonight who is deeply hurting.  They don’t feel worthy and they are thinking about doing something harmful to themselves.  God doesn’t want you to do that.  Please, please meet me in the restroom when we are finished praying.  Don’t leave the church.  God loves you.”

Forgive me if those weren’t Kim’s daughter’s exact words.  But that was the gist of what she said. Which just about took all of our breaths away…and honestly, still does.  Kim appeared astounded as she finished up her prayer.  After a chorus of ‘amens,’ we went to the lobby of the church to sell Beaded Hope items, Kim’s daughter headed to the women’s restroom, while Kim told us that she’d kept feeling there was a reason why she’d picked up the book and scheduled a women’s get together that evening.  And there it was.  On that night a life was saved and a soul was restored; a young woman was given a reminder of God’s hope and love.

As time went on, we spoke to other women’s groups and met more incredible women right here closer to home.  We also heard from many other people around the globe. From a man who’d lost a son to SIDS and had turned away from God until he read the book.  From a woman who’d always felt she was supposed to adopt, and finally made that life change after finishing the book.  The stories went on as they often do. On a personal level, when some difficult issues darkened my life during that time, I don’t think I could’ve endured if it hadn’t been for the Beaded Hope experience and “coincidences.”  I truly believe they were a sort of preparation, strengthening my faith and trust in Him for the journey ahead of me.

There are hands on the front of Beaded Hope which belong to Mrs. Tshabalala.  A photo of her is also on the opening pages.  In the village, she’s a woman who takes in orphans and teaches them beadwork.  When she saw her hands on the cover, she wept.  I’m told that was quite something because South African women do not cry.  Not often anyway.  If they did, there’s so much to be weeping about in their lives, that’s all they’d do.  Her tears were ones of gratitude, thankful that people across the world were thinking of them in Mamelodi, and wanting to be a part of the Beaded Hope story.  

If only Mrs. Tshabalala realized how very much her story ended up helping so many others.  All because we have a Sovereign God who continually pursues us and cares for us.  From every corner of the earth.

A few years ago, most sadly for those who knew them, Mama Peggy and Mighty passed away.  Unbelievably their passing came about within one week of each other.  I can only imagine how thrilled God was to wrap His arms around the pair.  They’d been inseparable on earth, so why not in heaven too?  Hopefully, He gave them a little rest before those angels got back to work, helping others again.  Personally, I like to think of two of them dancing.  Dancing and smiling and boldly praising the God they loved—and served so very faithfully.

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