It was either 1972 or 1973. I was very tired.
I was the mother of two toddlers; if it was in 1972 I was the mother of a baby and a toddler. I was Bengt’s wife. I was the Sunday school director. I had a ministry of producing teaching materials. I had to struggle with our oldest daughter’s health issues (not yet diagnosed with cystic fibrosis)… There was a lot on my plate. No wonder I was tired!
At that time in our ministry, in Huancayo, Peru the young people liked to serenade us on birthdays. They would come at midnight and sing their songs. Wonderful!
Not so wonderful after the songs were sung… someone had to take them home. We lived outside of city limits. There were no bus services to be had at that “ungodly” hour. So, either my father or my husband would have to get out in the middle of the night, fill the van with young people, and drive them to their different destinations.
What else could they do? It would be cruel to let them walk home, after they had been so gracious to come serenade whoever had the birthday. I mean, they had walked all the way out to our house. Should we let them walk all the way back? They kind of “expected” to get a ride.
About rides… My dad and my late husband have given “thousands” of rides home after church. People would just pile into the van. The rides were all around town. Most of our dear friends would say “Thank-you” as they reached their destination. “Thank you doesn’t pay the gas,” Dad would say. No one took the hint. A missionary is a servant, right? I guess to be a “driver” was also included in the job description.
Back to the reason for my story today. It was time for my birthday once again. I was an exhausted wife, mother and missionary. So, came midnight! Had I fallen asleep? Maybe! Then came the songs! I was being serenaded! So we got out of bed, my dear Bengt and I, put something descent on and opened the door. In piled the young people… “students” they would be called today.
We had a good time. One of the serenaders was Flavio (I have written about him before but I can’t find the blog among the 1,294 I have so far). He had a present for me. It was Psalm 92:10.
But you have exalted my horn [my strength] like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil. (ESV)
The literal translation in Spanish reads, “You will add to my strength like that of a buffalo.”
I screamed! I felt at that moment a new search of energy. Strength came into my body. I was renewed!
Ever since that midnight serenade in Huancayo, Peru, I’ve considered Flavio’s birthday present one of the best I’ve ever received.
Flavio was a converted alcoholic and drug addict. His parents and sibling had been saved in our church. How his mother prayed for him! And now he was saved and on fire for God. Flavio had no money to buy a present, but the WORD he gave me was better than any other present he could have given me.
There are many verses in the Bible that have been my strength over the years. I’ve compiled some of them in a file. Welcome to download it. I will use some of them to write stories in the coming days.
For download: Words that are my Strength
Money or things money can buy are fine presents. Sometimes we don’t have money. Love and care are worth so much more. A phone call. A visit. I miss having visits!
Do you have a friend or family member whose birthday is coming up? How about finding a good WORD to give them? Pray about it! God will show you exactly what they need. It will be like the night Flavio gave me this transforming word:
But you have exalted my horn [my strength] like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil.