FAITH DOES IT AGAIN!

Activated - - NEWS - By Iris Richard IRIS RICHARD IS A COUN­SELOR IN KENYA, WHERE SHE HAS BEEN AC­TIVE IN COM­MU­NITY AND VOL­UN­TEER WORK SINCE 1995.

WHEN I LOOK BACK AT THE CROSS­ROADS IN MY LIFE— times when things seemed to have taken a wrong turn or my plans and goals were dealt a se­vere blow—I re­al­ize that my faith played a ma­jor role and helped me to weather the ad­verse cir­cum­stances and chal­lenges.

Since I've worked as a mis­sion­ary for over 30 years, mostly do­ing com­mu­nity and vol­un­teer ser­vice in for­eign lands, faith has nat­u­rally been a driv­ing force in my work and pri­vate life. I learned to trust that what­ever the prob­lem, there was light at the end of the tun­nel and a ray of hope.

When my sec­ond baby was born two months pre­ma­ture with un­der­de­vel­oped lungs and a weak heart­beat, I was dev­as­tated. Doc­tors doubted his chances for a nor­mal healthy life, and he was placed in an in­cu­ba­tor for a month. The fear of los­ing my baby al­most choked me, but as I clung to faith, he and I both made it through the long wait be­fore his re­lease from the hos­pi­tal with the nec­es­sary weight gain and a clean bill of health.

1 When af­ter 13 years of mis­sion ser­vice in South­east Asia, our as­sign­ment un­ex­pect­edly ended and our fam­ily, in­clud­ing three small chil­dren, was faced with start­ing all over again in a new land, faith gave us the courage and strength to whole­heart­edly plunge into the un­known.

2 The loss of a child to leukemia af­ter a two-year stretch of chemo­ther­apy in 2003 brought me to the brink of de­spair. Faith ac­com­pa­nied me on the road of suf­fer­ing and loss un­til I could ar­rive at a bet­ter place.

3 Feel­ing pow­er­less to help a loved one's long strug­gle with drug ad­dic­tion, and wit­ness­ing the re­sult­ing prob­lems in his mar­riage and pro­fes­sional life, was heart­break­ing. Faith gave me hope when all seemed hopeless and strength to be­lieve the bat­tle could be won.

4 Over the 21 years (and count­ing) that I have been work­ing on the African con­ti­nent, with all its in­se­cu­rity and poverty, my faith has been a shield. It's given me courage and en­durance to hang on dur­ing times when things don't make sense or when en­ergy and re­solve wear thin.

5 Again and again, faith in God has made ad­verse cir­cum­stances man­age­able, hap­pi­ness tan­gi­ble, dis­ap­point­ments bear­able, loss en­durable, and given me the as­sur­ance that the sun will al­ways shine again.

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