—Your Children ARE God's Full-time Service!
(This sad letter from a discouraged mother of 4 small children, Morningstar, who with her husband Zatthu were for 5 years our pioneer missionaries in Indonesia, prompts a sympathetic reply from Dad, who follows it with a similar story of his own life.—Is it yours?)
Dearest Dad, Maria & Sara,11/9/79
GOD BLESS YOU ALL. I love you so much & appreciate so much all your precious labours of love. I don't know how I could ever repay you or thank you for the Words that have changed my life & continue to do so each day....I guess just by doing my best to serve Him & you each day.
I HAVE WANTED TO WRITE SO MUCH, but hesitate because of the many things I'm going through, & not really wanted to burden you, as I know Jesus does have the answers‚ but I do feel like I really need help. I have spent so much time searching the Word & praying about it all, & then when I received Sara's note & then also a letter from the KQS I felt prompted to write you & share my heart.
FRANKLY, I'VE COME TO AN AREA IN MY LIFE WHERE I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO GET THE VICTORY. It stems from a problem that I have had since Zatthu & I first got married: That is, being unable to accept what the Lord has done in my life with our marriage. I have been going through it about this since the first year we were married, have fought it & have had temporary victories throughout.
LAST YEAR WE SEPARATED FOR TWO MONTHS. When I realised how I was failing the Lord in failing our children & Zatthu, the Lord really spoke clearly to me about the children in Letters like "Divorce," etc. It was so clear & simple in the Word about sticking it out for the sake of the children. I've always been determined to do the Lord's highest & don't want to settle for anything less, because I know I couldn't handle failing the Lord. Yet I feel like I am already.
SINCE WE CAME TO EUROPE at Christmas things have gotten worse, simply because we cannot agree on how we want to serve the Lord together. Zatthu is happy working at a job & is tired of the difficult life of living by faith. As for me, I just cannot accept it & want to be on the field again. I just see this kind of life sucking us further & further into the System. It's just been the hardest thing for me to accept. I've tried to see where we can serve the Lord together to where we are both fulfilled & used of the Lord.
SINCE I'VE BEEN BACK FROM INDONESIA we've been taking the children singing & litnessing on Saturdays. This is really inspiring & has helped a lot, but we just don't have the kind of home you'd expect from the Family—no visitors or sheep coming by, simply because there isn't time in just a couple of hours on a Saturday to do too much personal witnessing, & we live pretty way out in a small village. We have to be selah in the village so as to not let out we're with the Family.
WELL, TO PUT IT MILDLY, I'M JUST ABOUT GOING CRAZY! I really want to do more, & for awhile I thought I could. I started working on provisioning for the Homes in S.E. Asia, mainly for the children, but haven't had too much time to work on it. With pretty much the whole household to take care of & the children, I've found that pretty much a full-time job. Sad to say, the children are the ones who suffer, mainly spiritually with the Word & their reading. I just feel so drained by the end of the day, & when Zatthu gets home he's pretty tired too. It all just seems like a vicious cycle.
IT JUST SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE TO FIGHT SO MANY LITTLE COMPROMISES EACH DAY, that the real fight is completely obliterated. I know I'm no saint & I've sure made my share of mistakes. I think it's only fair to share with you the whole story: ...
TWO YEARS AGO I FELL IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER BROTHER in the Family who is also married. I know I failed Zatthu miserably in not loving him enough, & the whole thing put him through more trials than anything, although in the beginning he too, believed it was of the Lord. This relationship in fact was the final reason why we left the field, even though I had stopped it.
WHEN WE LEFT INDONESIA, I WAS FIVE MONTHS PREGNANT WITH MY FIFTH. Quite a long time before this pregnancy I had two specific dreams about giving Daniel & Miriam a baby. They had been married for four years with no children. Well‚ I really believed the Lord wanted me to give them this baby‚ & when I was eight months pregnant (already in Europe), a friend donated the money for me to fly back & have the baby in Indonesia.
THE COMPLETE DREAM WAS FULFILLED ... ! The Lord gave me the name Samuel for the Baby, & Miriam got the same thing months before he was born! I've learned so much from this whole thing, & forsaking the relationship with Daniel was one of the hardest lessons, as I still love him very much.
WHEN WE FIRST GOT TOGETHER it was at a time that my marriage with Zatthu wasn't doing too good‚ & Daniel really helped me & gave me a lot of faith for my marriage. His encouragement & spiritual influence on my life was what I loved & respected him for the most.—Also that his love for the Lord & His service is the most important thing to him.
I THINK I COULD HAVE THE FAITH for our marriage if I could see Zatthu trying in the one & only area that can help us, & that is the Word. For almost a year now his interest in the Word has dwindled down to just reading the new Letters as they come out. I know you can't make someone love the Word or give them the desire to Mark 16:15. I also know from the Letters that God often puts people together to help one another in their weak areas. I just don't feel able anymore or have the faith that things will change.
I'VE COME TO THE POINT WHERE I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE‚ & although Zatthu says he is happy & fulfilled, I know I'm not. I know also that happiness comes not in pursuing it yourself, but in trying to make others happy. There are so many examples in the Bible where God expects His prophets to do the unexpected & I've thought of that a lot. I want very much to be able to do the Lord's will‚ though sometimes the way we are living seems so contrary, but there is another side of the story—as you can see I am pretty confused.
WE DO HAVE "PLANS" TO GO BACK TO INDONESIA in about a year, but I don't have too much faith in plans that stretch that far. We also had plans to just come to Europe for a couple of months over Christmas, then go back all together for the birth of Samuel.
I LOVE MY CHILDREN DEARLY‚ Dad, & the main reason we've never decided on a separation is because of them. Zatthu really wants to keep them together & doesn't want to be separated from any of them. I've seen the bad fruit of splitting up on the children, & wouldn't want to put them through it again‚ unless I was sure it was the Lord's will.
THE QUESTION I HAVE IS: AM I FAILING THE LORD by not accepting things the way they are? I shared quite a lot last year with Keda about this. I told her I wanted to be a 100%er, that, because of the Word, I knew what God was requiring of me. What confuses me now is that we seem so far from really giving God our all in service to Him. I don't feel like we're bearing the fruit that we could.
I FEEL REALLY FRUSTRATED ABOUT EVERYTHING. There are times when I just put my head down & totally ignore the circumstances & conditions & just do everything I can to stay on top of it, but it always comes back, & when I decided to write you the other day, I started off sharing everything so positively. Then when I read over the letter, I felt like such a phoney, 'cause I know we're really failing the Lord in so many ways. Maybe, compared to some Homes I've seen here, it looks like we're doing OK, our feeble attempts look pretty good next to the Homes that aren't doing anything, but it's still not good enough.
I'VE PERSONALLY HAD A LOT OF CHANGES IN MY LIFE these past few months—in my heart should I say—'cause I really had some forsaking-all to do. There were things in my heart that I'd really been holding onto. Like in "Greater Victories" (No.727), where Maria says, "The thing that's dearest to you, God will use to draw you closer to Him, to see if you're willing to forsake that thing".
WELL, FOR ME THAT WAS DANIEL‚ my relationship with him, & of course the baby, Samuel. I had felt that leaving them so far away was really forsaking-all, but I had another think coming when God really began to check my heart & show me where I was really at. Also, like Dad says, you feel like you've forsaken all, then you just go right back to the altar & take it back. Well, I've done that so many times in my heart too.
DAD, I WANT TO BE REALLY HONEST with you, 'cause I know I really need help. I don't want to fail you or the Lord, & I don't want to miss the mark. If you have the time to pray about this situation I would so dearly appreciate it. I'm really sorry to burden you, but I want to be fruitful for the Lord. I feel like I've been going through the same things over & over, & can't see the forest for the trees. I really want the victory. I'll always love you, & am forever grateful for the way you've laid down your life for the sheep. I want so much to follow your sample. GBYA! Love in His service, Morningstar
P.S. WE'VE BEEN MARRIED 5 1/2 YEARS, HAVE 4 CHILDREN: Kezia (5 1/2)‚ Michael (4 1/2), Robin (3 1/2)‚ Maria (15 months). I'm not expecting a miraculous solution, 'cause I know these things take time. What I mainly need more than anything is to be able to share it all‚ instead of keeping it all bottled up. GB each one of you, Baby Techi & Davidito. X!
(Dad's reply, 22/9/79:)
Greetings in Jesus' precious name! ILY!
1. THERE ARE SOME JOBS THAT I REALLY CAN'T DO: I don't usually have time to write personal individual letters to people, unless it is something extremely important or very urgent‚ & even then I usually just answer them with a few brief notations on their own letter.—There are many thousands of you in our Family‚ so to write many individually would be impossible! Oftentimes people write saying, "I wish you would write to me‚ Dad‚ & answer my problem," etc.
2. BUT AS I HAVE OFTEN SAID BEFORE—it's in the Letters—if it is a big enough problem & urgent enough that it has to be referred to me for my answer, you may not like the kind of answer you get, & you may be sorry you wanted an answer‚ because by the time things have to be referred to me personally, they are usually in pretty bad shape!
3. BUT BECAUSE THIS SEEMS TO BE A FAIRLY COMMON PROBLEM today with so much Homegoing, getting jobs back in the System, leaving fields & being tied down with big families & seeming unable to serve the Lord full-time anymore, it is a condition affecting many in the Family right now, so I feel it needs an answer. Besides, this letter is from one of our most faithful pioneer missionaries, the wife of the young couple who helped pioneer a very difficult field—Indonesia, of the East Indies in the Southeast Asia area.
4. YOU CERTAINLY HAVE TO BE A PROPHET OF GOD TO ANSWER a matter without being able to hear the whole story, & she has not told us the whole story, perhaps because she felt we didn't have time to read it, which could be true! There are very many important details that she left out, so that only God Himself could help me give the right answer. So I'm only going to be able to answer in general terms covering similar general problems‚ as I don't know both sides of this story.
5. I'M SURE THE HUSBAND ALSO HAS HIS SIDE OF THE STORY, & maybe yet the lover has his side, & maybe the lover's wife her side—there are many sides to almost every story—you can never get the full picture from just one party to the problem. But it is a very similar & common problem in many areas of the family right now, particularly amongst those who have gone home with large families‚ gotten jobs & back into the System‚ having given up on the field because they felt it was just too hard to support such a large family by faith on a difficult field. And this is often true—I ought to know: I've been through it myself!
6. SO JUST TO GIVE YOU A VERY GENERAL & SKETCHY PICTURE of this girl's story‚ I'll briefly outline it for you, so that we can try to analyse it & give you God's answers if we can. It's the desperate heartcry of a young mother who married early in one of our former colonies in the Netherlands. She, a rather wild adventurous young Australian traveller‚ married this very young rather frail dark Indonesian boy in the Family while they were in Holland. He had been in such poor health that upon occasion his mother had to even take him home from our Colony to take care of him for awhile.
7. THOUGH OF TWO VERY DIFFERENT CULTURES, RACES & COLOURS they married in the Lord, we trust, & although there is "no Jew nor Greek" (Gal.3:28), no race nor colour in the Lord & His Family, nevertheless, sometimes these differences are very difficult to overcome, & mixed marriages are not always easy with such different backgrounds‚ cultures‚ customs & ways, & even such different looks.
8. SO THEY HAD SOME DIFFICULTIES TO OVERCOME BEFORE THEY EVEN STARTED. Nevertheless, thank God, they seemed to have overcome these differences & apparently decided to go to the field together. He being of Dutch nationality & no doubt speaking the Dutch tongue, they apparently felt led to go to Indonesia, a former Dutch colony where Dutch is still widely spoken. Therefore they had at least some advantages in getting started in a country where at least one of them knew one of the languages.
9. I BELIEVE THEY WERE OUR FIRST INDONESIAN PIONEERS, & from all reports we received & published, they did a wonderful job, a magnificent job‚ in pioneering a very difficult field by faith with little or no help—even learning the local Indonesian language & winning the hearts of people & many souls to the Lord. We remember reading their many glowing reports of their work there, thank the Lord!
10. THEY FAITHFULLY STUCK IT OUT ON THE FIELD FOR FIVE LONG HARD YEARS DURING WHICH THEY HAD FOUR CHILDREN, the oldest of which is now only 5 1/2 & the youngest 1 1/2. Living by faith on a hard foreign field with a family of several small children is never an easy task! It's hard enough to be a missionary without also being the supporter of a large family.
11. I OUGHT TO KNOW, BECAUSE I'VE BEEN THROUGH IT, & I know much of what it's like. We weren't on a far-away foreign field, but we were amongst Indians & Mexicans & Southern dust-bowl cotton-pickers who were almost as strange as foreigners, & we had to live entirely by faith because they did not give us sufficient support for a family of six to survive—certainly not on $10 a week!
12. BUT WE WORKED VERY HARD & PRAYED HARD & WE WROTE HARD to try to raise our own support from our little Mailing Ministry, & we succeeded!
(See Part 2.)