Please Don't Send Me To Africa
Text and Music: Scott Wesley Brown and Phill McHugh
Lord, I am your willing servant
You know that I have been for years
I'm here in this pew ev'ry Sunday and Wednesday
I've stained it with many a tear
I've given You years of my service
I've always given my best
and I've never asked You for anything much
so Lord, I deserve this request
Please don't send me to Africa
I don't think I've got what it takes
I'm just a man, I'm not a Tarzan
don't like lions, gorillas, or snakes
I'll serve You here in suburbia
in my comfort'ble middle-class life
but please don't send me out into the bush
where the natives are restless at night
I'll see that the money is gathered
I'll see that the money is sent
I'll wash and stack the communion cups
I'll tithe eleven percent
I'll volunteer for the nurs'ry
I'll go on the youth group retreat
I'll usher, I'll deacon, I'll go door to door
just let me keep warming this seat
Please don't send me to Africa…………………… The first time I heard that song five years ago it made me laugh. I didn't actually make it my prayer - I felt safe enough - I didn't think God would want us all going - and Africa was Naomi's thing anyway. I was so pleased that she was going. The miracles that God performed to get her there were amazing. I didn't have to go as well!
Two months ago if you had suggested I would be going to Africa this summer, and looking forward to it I would have laughed. I don't "do" hot weather. I wouldn't go away for a month without Chris and what reason would I have to go? I didn't have anything to offer.
For a while God has been giving me dreams about babies - on the one hand you could say that is pretty normal for someone who has spent the last 25 years cuddling small people (although even my smallest is a young lady now) but I was fairly sure that the dreams I was having were God's way of telling me that there was going to be a new start, I was going to do something new. But I had no idea what or how. I love the Bible Study on Friday. But I have a lot of family commitments and I couldn't see what God would want me to do that could fit my circumstances.
Then on the 3rd May I had a message from Esther (Whitfield) - she had had a dream about me having a baby. We joked for a while about the fact I had nowhere to keep a new baby etc and then I said "I'm going to start a ministry for young mums." I sent the message and sat there thinking "Where did that come from? I can't do that! I'm too old! I'm not a young mum anymore" Actually, I never have been - I was 27 when Tom was born!
I kept mulling it over and God reminded me of two specific things that He had shown me years ago. The first was before Tom was born. In the office where I worked there was a petition on the wall about abortion. I can't remember the details at all, possibly to do with tightening the laws. But I remember a man coming in to the office to see my boss. He read the petition and asked for a pen to sign it and started to tell me about a friend of his who had found herself pregnant and was going to have an abortion. He was vehemently opposed to abortion but wanted to help her. She didn't particularly want an abortion but didn't know how else she would manage. She could not afford to take time off work to have the baby even if she gave him up for adoption straight away. So this man offered to support her, to cover all her costs and make up any losses she had financially if she would carry on with the pregnancy and she accepted his offer.
Another thing the Lord reminded me about was a seminar I went to at a conference when Tom was little. I came out of it feeling really cross. I didn't need to be told that abortion was wrong - I wanted to know how to help the mums who felt they had no choice, who thought it was the only practical way forward.
The conversation with Esther was on the Saturday. On the Wednesday Nim rang for a chat and to tell me she had heard from a lady in South Africa, right out of the blue, someone she hasn't spoken to for 4 years. Pat asked if she would be interested in going out to Durban, bringing someone with her, to work for Angels of Mercy - a pregnancy crisis centre.
I felt my heart doing summersaults. I so desperately wanted to go with her. But she wouldn't want me! Who'd want to take their mother on a trip like that! I couldn't help myself though and said how much I would love to go and "mother the mums".
I wrote to her that evening and said I knew how weird it would be to have me along and I knew she would prefer to have a friend etc and that I would be 100% behind her praying and fundraising and anything else she needed. Because I was sure that that was what God had meant. He didn't want me to go to Africa - there were lots of people better qualified than me, people who want to go to Africa for a start! I was going to pray and fast and support her in every way I could
But as we talked I found out that she was happy even keen for me to come - the ultimate mother daughter date. And Pat was happy too. So within a week of Esther dreaming about me having a baby and God giving me the interpretation of the dream I was on my way to planning a whole new step of faith that I had never contemplated.
I think it was the following Sunday that Greg said "Stop saying that your circumstances don't fit with God's word to you. Take God's word and make your circumstances fit." So here goes! I am leaving behind a domestically challenged family in the hands of a husband and daughter who are both more than capable of looking after everything - why did I ever think I couldn't? My "circumstances" are all in my head! God has hold of the practicalities and the day to day running of family life. He knows what is needed and will give everyone in the family the strength/ability to get on and do what is needed.
So now we have less than five weeks to go. My case is overflowing with donations from friends all over the country and people I hardly know. Hopefully we will have enough space to take our own clothes as well! I hope you will join us on our adventure as we serve Angels of Mercy Care Centre in any way we can.