Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm Changing

And it scares me to death.

I don't know what to do. Should I shout for joy, or crawl in the bed and cry? Do I put a halt on my thoughts, my feelings, my prayers so that I can remain the same?

Do I fear the change itself, or myself once I've been changed?

Will I stop loving those I've always loved - to make room for the new ones that have wiggled in?

Will these changes eventually hurt, like the changes I've made in the past have hurt? Will I be blessed like I've been blessed before with other changes?

Does God understand?

Okay, so maybe I went a little too far with that last question....ever heard of "the slippery slope"?

My husband says that once I get on a roll, I can't stop....

I love the folks that we minister to.

Now...I've said it out loud. Now you know my deep, dark secret. I am officially loving these people.

The little mission in our city that we've had the privilege of attending the last year has become so special to me. The people so very dear.....

One lady, Otilia who has been diagnosed with cancer in various places throughout her body, is clinging to life at the hospital. She was the first person to tell me, "I love you".

It was just a few short weeks after we began attending the mission. She hugged me, (unusual for Portuguese, usually it's only kisses) and she held on a little longer than I expected. She pulled away and as slowly as she possibly could, she told me she loved me. Speaking slowly helped me to understand every word she said. And all I could say in response was "thank you", not knowing how to say "I love you too".

I wanted so desperately to tell her that I loved her too, but I couldn't and it was extremely frustrating. So I repeatedly said "thank you" feeling inadequate the whole time.

Otilia loves my children. She's crocheted hair bows for the girls, given them enough candy to rot every tooth and always requested one of them sit by her, since I had so many, I needed to share.

Brooklyn was the only one brave enough to sit next to a lady that she didn't understand, thus a friendship between the two began.

Otilia has asked the kids to call her "Bia". A short version of great-grandmother.

Bia weighs all of 85 pounds, soaking wet. She always insists we stand EVERY time we sing at church and she would come to each service bearing fresh cut flowers from her yard. We've not had fresh flowers in quite a while now. She's been sick since Christmas.

Tonight Michael and Brooklyn visited her in the hospital. Brooklyn took her a picture she had drawn for her and when they returned Michael's face was drawn and serious. All I could ask was, "Is she bad?" and he nodded.

My heart is heavy tonight. I love this lady. Unless the Lord works a miracle soon, Bia will be in Heaven sooner than I want her to be. Please pray for her.


TCKK said...

Isn't God so wonderful to give us new people to love and to love us too. I am so sorry that she is so sick. I will pray for her.

Sandy Sellers said...

Thank you so much for your post. Your heart is big enough to love the whole country of Portugal and still love all the ones who have been special to you through all the years.
I don't think you have changed at all. God is revealing to you what what was already there.
You all are doing exactly what God wants you to do and YES he will bless as he always has.
I sure do love you and are very proud of you.

Dani Joy said...

It is the beginning of a beautiful love affair with your people, Nina! Keep this rememberance through the years of ministry. We must be remembered of this love.

I have tears for Bia. I have tears for you.

Melissa Wertz said...

This has to be heartbreaking for you. The Missionaries who I have met, who have come home on furlough or come home for good share the same story you have just shared. (With the exception of a couple, who realized they were not 'called'.)

Their love for those they minister to only grew and grew. It will with you as well, because you have been called.

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

I will be praying for Bia, and for you as well.

Mom said...

Oh Nina, Im fighting back the tears. Im glad your begining to love the people and its ok. You have plenty of love and you will never stop loving those you have loved before. If you visit with Bia before her passing you need to tell her what you have wrote in this post. Tell her about that day when she hugged you and you didnt know how to say I love you in your "new language". Make sure she knows how much Brooklyn loves her. And will you tell her something for me? Tell her I thank her for being a Great Grandmother to my grand-children and loving them and making the hair bows, and giving the candy... but most of all for loving them. Please tell her thank you.
How did Brooklyn act when she got home from the hospital? Was she upset?
And you know as much as I miss all of you... Im sure glad your so happy. I will pray for Bia and for you.
I sure love you.... Mom

Amrita said...

Oh Lord please wrap Otilia in your gace and mercy.

Pilar Stark said...

I will pray for her and for you :). Not so thankful for making me cry this morning :).
You'll see her in heaven, what a joy!

Custodio's said...

I do agree with your mom,Nina. You should tell Otilia all the beautiful words you have written about her. She for sure will love it and will be thankful for that! Otilia is a very special lady! I do love her too!! We have been praying for her too. I thank God for have sent your family to Barcelo's church. You have been a blessing to that church and all of us! Thank you for your love and care! God bless you!

Jen said...

I understand what you mean. Sometimes it's hard for me to really let my heart reach out and love a child who is HIV positive knowing he/she will eventually slip from this world. I pray for your friend.

Jill said...

I'm praying for you and for her, Nina. And even though it hurts, embrace the love God has given you for the people in your ministry. That's the absolute best place to be in your life.

Dani Joy said...

Thanks for the comment!

I teach private English to several students. I have two sisters ages 9 and 11. A boy age 11 and a Dr. who is getting ready to go to NYC in May. I charge 10€ an hour and it´s just on the side. don´t want to get to bogged down by working out of the home. I teach the girls two times a week and the boy one time a week and then the Dr. has wanted 2-3 times a week. It´s been great! I love it and it´s been paying for some of our groceries this month as we were on funds.

Tabatha said...

I am praying for Otilia, God will heal her soon!
And what a joy to know you love these people. In this, chang IS good, for it is of God, through God and by God!
We love, miss y'all and pray for you constantly!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet woman God has given you. Bia will be in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

Nina, I can't quit crying, and I'm at work! Well, I have prayed for Bia and I am praying for you and your family. It is great that you have such a strong love for your mission. I know that it is God's way of reaffirming the fact that you were destined from your beginning to reach out and love and minister to the people of Portugal. I haven't been able to read your blog lately (strep throat, work load and other issues)but I wanted you to know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you. Especially yesterday. I don't know why, but I prayed for you a few times yesterday. You are so special to me and I don't think I would be as close to you as I am right now if you had stayed here. I love you and you are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh...Sweet Nina!!!

Your words have truly touched me....I know so well the feelings you are talking about! Sometimes I wonder how God does it!!! One can you love another? do! One can you love another? do! One can you love another? do!! God just grows your heart "bigger and bigger"!!! He's an AWESOME GOD!!!

I will be praying for Bia. If there is one thing I is that God's grace is sufficient for every need!!

Love you sooo much!
Aunt Niece

Aurora said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Otilia. Please let her know that I am praying for her and Love her. I am glad that Brooklyn was able to go see her. She told me that she really missed seeing your kids and I am sure that the visit made her day. Thank you. Aurora

The Herd said...

I pray that Otilia breaths clean air and her lungs be healed!

Oh, your post and your mom's comment and your husband posts...all of them touched my heart deeply...Mostly...the part where your mom said she was glad that you are loving the people around you and it's ok. To have support behind you to love new people even when they are different than our own family back in the precious!