Monday, June 26, 2017

Family treasures

While home with my parents, my mom and I spent an afternoon looking through
vintage family photos.
Then she asked me if I would be interested in having the special
"souvenirs" they brought home from their short-term mission trip
to Togo, West Africa way back in 1988.
Wait. Stop.
Did you say THIRTY years ago??

In the summer of 1987, my father was working his job
at Champion Spark Plug in Toledo, Ohio as a computer engineer.
He had been with this company for over 15 years.
All-of-a-sudden, he was given notice that this company needed to downsize
and that he was going to lose his job.  
He was 41.

For all of our school years, my sister and I had
enjoyed the privilege of attending a Christian school.
We loved it and knew nothing else.
In the summer of 1987, I was looking forward to my senior year coming up 
in the fall.
But everything came crashing down around us when my dad lost his job.

My parents felt they could not afford to put us in a private school
with no foreseeable income, so I was handed my high school diploma
that summer (they had checked with the school and determined
that I had enough credits to graduate), and my sister was told
she would be doing her final three years of high school at home.
I went to work that fall, and my dad looked everywhere for work.
But at that time, there was not a huge demand for middle-aged
men who specialized in computers
 in economically depressed Toledo, Ohio in the late 80's.
So we prayed.
And sought the will of God.
In the spring of the following year, there was a revival at our church.
I just remember one evening both my parents felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit
to consider the mission field.
Maybe this was why my dad had lost his job?
To free him up to go?
So they pursued this direction.
In the fall of 1988, I began my freshmen year of college totally on faith
and hard work,
and my parents went off to Togo, West Africa for a short-term (6 weeks)
exploratory missions trip.

It was an amazing journey for our whole family.
I can't remember where or who my sister stayed with,
but I remember letters from my parents while at college.
They came back with lots of stories,
lots of special momentos,
but very, very clear confirmation that this indeed
was not the will of God for their futures.
I honestly don't remember seeing a lot of the things my mom and I pulled
out that afternoon.
So it was a thrill to see it all "again" for the first time!!
Now that our family is involved in our own short-term missions,
I see these things with fresh eyes
and a completely different perspective!!

My mom said these things have been sitting in boxes for 30 years.
I assured her we would be putting these to good use
at our church's missions conferences
and even in furture Foreign Food classes I teach
through our homeschool co-op!!

Basket of "toothbrushes"

"Brillo pad" for scrubbing pots

Homemade broom

Homemade oil lamp

Threads for different hair designs

Portable baskets


My Mom told me she had this skirt and blouse ensemble custom made
for me.  The matching fabric around the waist is used to tie babies
or other objects to the Mama's backs. 

My Mom also brought home several yards of different gorgeous fabrics
and created different things from them.
Here are the potholders she quilted.
We also have an African doll she made as well.

What an absolute treat to slowly walk down memory lane
and revisit the goodness of God and His leading of my family
in days gone by.

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