“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me” (Psalm 66:16, NRSV).
I love stories. At my brother’s house the other day, I picked up my niece’s copy of Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaws and flipped through the familiar pages. I remember reading it before bedtime when I was growing up, always laughing when Frieda, who doesn’t want to eat her dinner, wails that she doesn’t want a paper cookie, either. Even such simple stories can stick with us for life.
Over the last year or so, I’ve been reflecting on the story that God’s been writing with my life as it’s undergone some surprising changes. I grew up in rural Cameroon, West Africa, while my parents carried out their roles as mother-tongue translation and literacy specialists with Wycliffe Bible Translators in a cluster of 10 language groups. I lived in the village from age three to 19, and I loved every moment of my time in that place that I called home.
As I prepared to leave, at the end of a gap year after high school, a friend asked me what I hoped to do in the years to follow. Without hesitation, I told her I would love to eventually return to the area that I grew up in to do Scripture engagement work—to help communities use translated Scripture in every area of life—but then trailed off to explain that I expected I wouldn’t end up doing it because “God often takes us to the places we don’t want to go to build character and trust . . .” etc.
This may be true at times, but God often surprises us in how He chooses to lead. Now, four years after that conversation with my friend, I’m back in Cameroon for a 10-month internship with Wycliffe to do Scripture engagement work with the very communities I had hoped to return to. I celebrate the fruition of a seed that God planted in my heart many years ago and the extra gift of doing this work that I’m passionate about, in a place and with people I know and love deeply. I treasure the lessons He is teaching me about my own need for His Word and communion with Him, even as I serve in Cameroon to help others read, hear, and see Scripture in their own languages.
I’m reminded of the importance of the practice of the Israelites and Jews who, throughout Scripture, continuously looked back on God’s past faithfulness to draw “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,” assured of His continued faithfulness. As I prepare to go, this same faithful God goes before me. God, the Great Author, weaves our lives into the grand narrative of Scripture as He continues His sustaining, redeeming work in our lives and around the globe. He’s always working (John 5:17) and invites and commands us to join in His shalom-spreading work in the world around us.
May we be obedient to God’s call, share His story, trust His Word, and celebrate His work. As I ponder God’s wisdom and creativity, His patience and precision, I echo and leave with you the words of Mary from Luke chapter 1:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior . . . for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-47, 49, NRSV).
I’m eager to see the work that He will continue to do as I follow His leading.