Author Archives: normasnuggets

About normasnuggets

Born of missionary parents in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and having served as a missionary myself, my goal for this blog is to share encouraging thoughts of God's grace in the journey of my life.

A Rhodesian Sunrise – Hope for Tomorrow

Our son Russel greeting his baby sister, Donna-Mae for the first time.A RHODESIAN SUNRISE – HOPE FOR TOMORROW

Sometimes it seems as though deep heart-aches come in clusters. You are just coming up for air from a traumatic event that sucked the wind out of you when you get hit by another. The never to be forgotten day in Gatooma, Rhodesia, as the sun was starting to rise, our second son was born. Unexpected tragedy struck and Gary Anthony did not live long enough to even see his first sunrise. We were filled with deep heart-ache that was too intense to put into comprehensible words. It took me several weeks to physically recover but a lot longer for both Glyn and I to emotionally recover.

Initially I longed to retreat to the warm embrace of the unspoiled regions of the bush. This was the place where I spent my formative years and I knew what a healing balm it could offer. I longed to sit silently beside a river bank and drink in the scene of God’s amazing creatures mingling together at the water’s edge. I wanted to be where none of the empty trappings of civilization could tarnish the beauty of God’s amazing creation.
I knew the healing balm that would come as I watched groups of elephant families silently arriving at the river’s edge. The mothers of the herd gently prodding their timid babies to enjoy the pleasure of playing in the water; yet at the same time; totally vigilant of any danger that might be lurking. These gentle giants along with Springbok herds prancing on their spindly legs would be serenaded by the whimsical calls of a variety of bird songs.
If only I could retreat to this oasis of serene beauty to ease the intense pain of the emotional desert I was walking in!
Sadly it could not be so; we had ministry duties that needed our attention, so we did the only thing we knew to do and that was to channel our raw emotions into the mission work God called us to. During our times of solitude we tried to make sense of what had happened.

Seven months later our stay in the town of Hartley was coming to an end. We were going to continue to be the District Directors for the area we had been working in but we were re-locating to Salisbury (Harare) to also assist as instructors in the Mission Bible School, which my parents Willard and Florence Wilson had founded and built.

Moving day arrived; the morning sunrise ushered in a dry and hot day but there was no time for slacking. Dad arrived with the big mission truck and loading began in earnest. Dad’s truck and our Daihatsu truck were loaded in short order, as a group of African men from our Hartley congregation came to help. Warm good-byes were said knowing that we would be making weekend trips into the various areas of our District; this sweetened the parting as it was not a final farewell.
We slowly drove through the main street in Hartley leaving many poignant memories behind but anticipating new adventures as we entered another chapter in our lives in our beloved Rhodesia.

At the time of this move to Salisbury I was not well at all. For several weeks prior, excruciating pain in my abdomen would double me over but we did not know the cause of the pain. So as soon as we got ourselves unloaded in the rental house in Salisbury, I searched out a specialist by the name of Dr. Stewart. He diagnosed that I appeared to be having a miscarriage which was stunning news considering I did not know we had another baby on the way. He admitted me to St. Anne’s Hospital where I underwent a routine procedure to prevent complications from the miscarriage.

Another blow to our emotions………. We could not help but ask God why these deep heart-aches were seemingly stalking our footsteps. Little did we know that the latest trauma had only just begun!
About a week after being released from St. Anne’s Hospital, while giving our young son Russel, his evening bath, I was hit with blinding pain to the point that Glyn had to half carry me to our bed. The pain was so intense it felt as though the very life was being sucked out of me. Glyn called Dr. Stewart who ordered pain pills but by 11:00 PM it was apparent that without medical intervention I might not live to see the rising of the morning sun. Glyn carried me to the car and rushed me to St. Anne’s Hospital emergency room. Dr. Stewart arrived and quickly assessed that something was very wrong as I barely had a blood pressure reading. He scheduled me for exploratory surgery and discovered the source of the trouble. His original diagnosis of a miscarriage was incorrect. I was suffering from an Ectopic pregnancy which had ruptured and I was bleeding out.
While waiting the long hours during the surgery, Glyn was facing the reality that he had already buried our infant son and now he was possibly facing losing his wife!
How could this possibly be happening?
Surely God had not forgotten us?
We were missionaries serving God with all our hearts and now this?
How could he continue without his wife at his side?
Questions bombarded his anxious mind and so he turned to the promises in God’s Word and drew strength as much as was possible considering he did not know the outcome.

Finally Dr. Stewart came into the waiting area and explained what had happened apologizing for his misdiagnosis. He said a lot of damage had been done because of the delay and sadly it was highly unlikely I would be able to ever bear children again but the good news was that unless there were unforeseen complications I was going to live. Twenty one days later Glyn had the joy of finally taking me home from the hospital.
Once my strength was back, I returned to teaching our African students in the Bible College which brought me great joy along with fulfilling my other duties in our district.
True there was a void in our hearts for the son we lost, compounded by the knowledge that we could not have more children; but we had to focus on the fact that God was in control of the events of our lives.
We held onto God’s promises especially Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

Even though we did not understand the rocky valley we had been walking we knew that God could put our experiences to good use in the lives of those we ministered to. God never makes a mistake that much we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt. So we set our hearts to finding joy in the work we were doing as missionaries.

The following year (1975) during a routine annual check-up, our family doctor, Dr. Reuben Leavitt dropped a bombshell on me. He knew our family well as he actually had delivered Glyn’s younger brother and sister, plus he walked the hard road with us in our own loss. He sat behind his office desk with a little smile playing around his lips and said: “Well Norma I have an announcement to make. You and Glyn are going to become parents again!” I could not believe what I was hearing. How could this be? We had been told by a specialist that it was highly unlikely we could ever have more children. Dr. Leavitt stood up and came around to where I was sitting; trying to digest the news he had just given me and with a gentle hand on my shoulder he said: “Norma God has smiled on you and Glyn and I believe this child will prove to be a special gift in your lives.”
I walked out of his office in a daze of euphoria – God had seen our hearts and heard our prayers.

On April 20, 1976 as the morning sun began to spread its radiant glow across the Rhodesian sky, our daughter, Donna-Mae was born. This mother’s arms were full again! The glow of the sunrise was like God painting a letter across the African sky to Glyn and me; reminding us that there ALWAYS is hope for our tomorrows when we trust in Him. He had given us a “living gift” that we have cherished even to our old age and her life has blessed us beyond measure!
Don’t despair my friends if you are walking a dark valley. The sun will rise again and God will restore to you “beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning!”

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Flowering In Spite Of The Thorns

Flowering Cactus

On our recent trip to visit my brother and his wife in Arizona, I saw so many spiritual lessons in the beauty of the “high desert” landscapes. One morning before the heat of the sun drove me indoors to seek shade, I quietly walked around their yard, drinking in a scene of splendor that few individuals have learned to appreciate. My brother had filled their bird feeders and the yard was a hive of activity of a variety of beautiful birds, including a mother quail with a newborn brood of tiny chicks and a rabbit family. I stood as still as I could, until I blended into the big Cactus plants, close to where the birds were feasting, without disturbing them.
To my left towered the magnificent craggy mountain range that stood like a sentry protecting the valley below; the early morning sun touched its jagged peaks with splashes of gold.
In front of me, lay the very peaceful scene of an assortment of wild birds and rabbits, relishing the feast that had been provided for them by Henry.
Beside me, stood a massive desert Cactus that obviously had weather many a storm and death defying heat.
My attention turned to the cactus. Its thick large succulent body was covered with sharp 4 inch thorns which would inflict serious pain if one brushed against them. Yet among these thorny outgrowths flowered the most beautiful yellow blooms. Once the time of blooming was passed a prickly fruit would grow that the birds could feast on.
I was familiar with these same Cactus plants, as we had them growing on our Mission Station in Africa and when the fruit was ripe we would very carefully pluck them off, making sure none of the thorns touched out hands and mother would peal the outer layer and make the most delicious jam from the fruity pulp inside.

As I stood there a spiritual lesson began to grow in my heart.
I was reminded of the following scripture that seemed an apply illustration of this Cactus plant’s function in life.

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

In the world we live in, we are going to have all kinds of problems, frustrations and difficulties. They come to us as “thorny trials and times of testing”. These times are part of our journey in life. So knowing this, what do we do?

We must remain steadfast and persevere. In other words, the answer is never give up! No matter what’s going on in our lives, the victory is in refusing to quit. Those thorns on the cactus are very necessary protection for beautiful blooms and fruit to mature.

Bear in mind that in the heat of our thorny struggles, the Lord is doing His greatest work within us.
He uses these circumstances to strengthen our faith and trust in Him.
Our Lord is not in our lives for good times only, but for the difficult times as well.
He will lead us through anything if we’ll just hang in there and follow Him.
This means being diligent in prayer, relentless in our resolve, unwavering in faith, and determined to stand firmly on God’s Word and His promises to us.

So many times we can be sidetracked by how slowly things seem to be going. In fact, the enemy loves to point that out! But remember, that’s when God may be doing some of His greatest work in us.
The Lord’s work in us is preparation for the work He wants to do through us.
You may ask….what is the point of these times of suffering?
The answer is that our lives will become like the beautiful flowers on the Cactus plant that in turn bears fruit to feed the hungry souls that God sends our way!

Do not fear the thorny path you are walking but rest in the knowledge that God will help you if you remain steadfast and true to His calling.
I close this Nugget with this challenge; let us stand on:
Galatians 6:9: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (NLT).

Dust Off Your Feet

My brother & playmate with dirty feet. Gobatema Mission, Zimbabwe 1942

DUST OFF YOUR FEET

There are some preachers that erroneously teach that the child of God is exempt from burdens, stress, trials, heartaches and disappointments. THIS IS FALSE TEACHING!
When Jesus was sending his disciples out to minister, He told them not to be surprised when the ungodly treated them unjustly.

Matthew 10:22 (NKJV) “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Satan will do his best discourage us from living a life that will be pleasing in the sight of God.
He will throw every form of heart-ache, pain, false accusations and every manner of evil mischief he can concoct, against the child of God.
The Lord never told us that we would not have problems.
He never told us that difficult days would not come or that we wouldn’t have burdens.
He did instruct us however, how to handle these seasons of testing:

Matthew 10:14 (NKJV) “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, SHAKE OFF THE DUST FROM YOUR FEET.”

One of the most difficult things we face as God’s children is that when these times of testing come, we initially are overwhelmed and shattered by the pain, rejection and heart-ache we are experiencing.
We ask the questions, “Why?” and “What do I do next?”

Thoughts flood our hearts and minds such as:
I am trying to go by the book.
I read my Bible every morning.
I talk to God at night before I go to bed.
I pay my tithes faithfully.
I attend church on a regular basis and even visit the sick and help people when I can.

The next phase of self-questioning usually goes like this:

Why is it that my burden is so heavy?
What am I doing wrong? Where am I going wrong? What mistakes am I making?
I believe God loves me, but when I call, He seems to take so long to answer me.
There seems to be a void between my pleas to God’s ears.
It seems I am bearing this heavy load all by myself.

Do these words sound familiar to you?
Friends I am sharing my heart today because I am speaking from first-hand knowledge of deep valleys of trial that Glyn and I have walked through. These are not merely words of “theory”, these are up to date, living words of experience, talking!
Let me offer you some encouragement.
You are not alone! There are others bearing loads that in some cases are heavier than even yours or ours!

Jesus clearly reminded His disciples to “shake off the dust from their feet”.
What He is telling the persecuted and hurting child of God is that we are to focus our eyes on Him and His eternal reward.
We need to stop the self- incriminations.
We must not allow the attack of the enemy or the effects of living in this corrupt generation, rob us of our victory.
By “shaking the dust off our feet” we are sending a CLEAR SIGNAL to the devil that his evil agenda will NOT succeed because God is fighting the battle for us.

After all; Jesus led us by His own example when He was falsely accused. The scripture tells us:
Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

Children of God WILL become victorious during seasons of deep testing and weeping; if we AVAIL OURSELVES of the promises in God’s Word and tap into the strength He has provided!
Drink deeply from His promises to you, today my friends!

“WEEPING MAY ENDURE FOR THE NIGHT, BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!”

God Gives A Song

Elephant trumpeting by Animals of Africa

GOD GIVES A SONG

“Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?” (Job 35:10.)

This past Easter week-end proved to be a major physical ordeal for me.
On Saturday evening while cleaning up our supper dishes I was hit with an aggressive AFIB episode that escalated at warp speed until I was at the point of passing out. Glyn insisted I take my blood pressure and pulse rate. The reading was 189/95 with a pulse of 130. I laid in my recliner praying the episode would pass; but with the passing of every moment it only got worse causing chest pain and an excruiating pain in my head.
So VERY RELUCTANTLY I called my Cardiologist’s on-call nurse knowing she would instruct me to head straight to the ER!
Those of you who know me well, can only imagine the conversation that ensued between me and the nurse, especially if you know I tend to be completely and “unfiltered” frank, when I feel strongly about something!
She instructed me to go immediately to the ER. My response must have blown the poor lady away!
I told her that; “I saw no point in going to the ER as I had been that route numerous times and all they do was stick me on a gurney in the hallway, with no privacy; while I lay “forgotten” for hours on end. Finally an over-worked doctor rolls up, runs a bunch of highly expensive tests and then informs me that I need to see my Cardiologist as I was bordering on a stroke!”
To the “on-call” nurse’s credit she kept her cool and made all the right “sympathetic” responses, but made me promise that if my symptoms escalated further then I was to have Glyn take me to the ER. I thanked her kindly for her concern and responded that I would go to bed, but would NOT consider going to the ER until AFTER I had attended our Easter Sunday Resurrection service in the morning!
I had more faith and trust in God than the very deteriorating Medical system that seems to be the order of the day.
True to my word, I contacted the Cardiologist’s office first thing on Monday morning and true to my observations, it has taken 3 days of begging, pleading and hounding before I was given the courtesy of a call-back! Finally I was “heard” and it was discovered that an adjustment to my AFIB medication was necessary.
I am so very thankful that God does not follow the same rules that today’s Medical Fraternity follows.
HE ANSWERS HIS CHILDREN THE MOMENT THEY CALL!
My experience reminded me of the scripture verse I quoted at the beginning of this Nugget. I love the comforting knowledge, that God is beside us during the darkest hours and even gives us “songs in the night”!

Allow me to encourage you today.
Do you have sleepless nights, tossing on the hot pillow and watching for the first glint of dawn?
Instead of allowing your circumstances to rob you of your peace, fix your thoughts on the Lord of the storm, and believe that He can fill those lonely, dreary hours with song.

Is yours the night of bereavement?
During these hard nights of grief, God draws near, and assures the broken-hearted that He needed your departed or soon to be departed loved one! He lovingly shows that He has called “the eager, earnest spirit of your loved one, to stand with the bright throng of His children who are, liberated, radiant, active, and free from pain and the tangles of this life! As this realization floods your heart and mind, there will enter your dark night, the sweet, comforting strains of the beginning of a song.

Is yours the night of discouragement and fancied or actual failure?
No one understands you, your friends reproach you; your whole world seems to be crumbling under you?
Allow the God who “walks the dark hills” to draw nigh and He will give you a song—a song of hope, the song which is harmonious with the strong, deep music of His providence. Listen to the gentle notes of the heavenly song that the Lord will fill your heart and give you comfort and strength, in the night hours!

I love this quote by William Taylor that flows with the thought of this nugget: “The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the Gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that ‘He gives songs in the night,’ He must first make it night.”

So dear friends – do not fear the dark path you might be walking today, as the Lord of all comfort will lift you on the wings of a song in the night.
Hold on to this acronym of the word TRUST that came to me in the “wee hours of the morning”, last night!

T RIALS
R ECEED
U NDER
S OVEREIGN
T RANQUILITY

The Silent Lamb

THE SILENT LAMB

Matthew 27:13-14 (NKJV) “Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

Follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he walked the dusty roads touching and changing the lives of those who reached out to Him.
One thing will stand out; when it came to Jesus speaking to the listening crowds He was not limited for words to free them from their bondage.
Yet when He was being falsely accused, He would not say a single word in defense of Himself.

Do you remember what the officers said about Jesus when the Pharisees commanded them to seize Him and bring Him to them?
John 7:45-46 (NKJV) “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” …………..may I add, never was there a man silent like Jesus was, when facing His accusers.

Was this singular silence the manifestation of His perfect self-sacrifice?
Did it show that He would not utter a word to stop the agony of hanging on a Cross because He had dedicated Himself as an offering for us?
He had so entirely surrendered Himself that He would not interfere on His own behalf, even to the minutest degree. He was bound, beaten and nailed to the Cross, an un-struggling, uncomplaining victim of man’s barbaric act of scorn.

Don’t you think that patient silence is many times the best reply to an opposing world?
Calm endurance answers some questions infinitely more conclusively than the loftiest eloquence.
The best apologists for Christianity in the early days were its martyrs.
The anvil breaks a host of hammers by quietly bearing their blows.
Did not the silent Lamb of God furnish us with an ultimate example of wisdom?

The great Bible teacher Charles Spurgeon when meditating on the events that unfolded on Good Friday made this statement:
“Where every word was occasion for new blasphemy, it was the line of duty to afford no fuel for the flame of sin. The ambiguous and the false, the unworthy and mean, will quickly overthrow and confute themselves, and therefore the true can afford to be quiet, and finds silence to be its wisdom.”

Jesus, by His silence, furnished a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. A long defense of Himself would have been contrary to Isaiah’s prediction when he penned these words:

Isaiah 53:7 (NKJV) “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

By His silence Jesus conclusively proved Himself to be the true Lamb of God.
As I close this Nugget let us consider: WHO IS THIS SILENT LAMB.

WHO IS THIS LAMB?
He is the origin of God’s creation. He flung the stars into space and with the power of His Hand He carved the vast chasm of the Grand Canyon and rugged, craggy mountain peaks.
No a blade of grass grows without His touch and not a sparrow falls without His knowledge.
He hears His children’s weakest cry and bottles their tears.
He is the Fourth man that walked in the midst of the fiery furnace bringing deliverance to the three Hebrew children.
With the power of His voice, He rebuked the screeching winds and angry waves and peace reigned supreme in the storm.
Death lost its icy grip when He called Lazarus from the tomb.
He is the good Shepard of the sheep, who leads us beside still waters and speaks peace to our troubles souls.
See Him in Revelation with eyes like a flame, coming to execute judgement on this earth.

WHO IS THIS LAMB?
He is the all controlling, all consuming Christ.
He is our Lord of Lords and soon coming King!

Rejoice my friends, in the power of the Silent Lamb, FOR THE LIGHT OF RESURRECTION SUNDAY IS ON THE HORIZON.

Circle of Enduring Love

Our family on furlough from Africa in 1956

THE CIRCLE OF ENDURING LOVE

In my journey of the many paths I have walked in my life, the Book of Psalms has ministered to me over and over again, through every circumstance imaginable.
Looking back over the events of my life I find I can relate to the situations described by the writers of this book.
In my times of heartache, testing and triumphs I find myself constantly returning to the familiar pages of these poetic hymns and draw renewed strength from the written words.

Psalm 150 is the final Psalm in the Book.
Have you noticed that the last Psalm begins differently than the first Psalm?

The first Psalm opens with MAN being blessed BY God, but the last Psalm opens with man BLESSING God.
Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man.” The last Psalm says, “Praise ye the Lord.”
Between Psalm 1 and 150 a whole lot of things have happened………….
Come…….. Walk with me and hear the voice of the Psalmist drifting down through the faded corridors of time and dusty roads of life.

I hear echoes of pain in the fields from exploited individuals comforting themselves in the words of the Psalmist saying……. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers……”(Psalm 37:1).
They had run into some crooked folk, difficult dilemmas, and trying situations. Then as they assimilate the comforting words of Psalm 37, the sting of their mistreatment fades as the morning mist with the triumphal final verse which shouts; … “And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.” Psalm 37:40

Then heart wrenching sounds of weeping rush over me; leading me to read, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
This tells me that the Psalmist had run into tough times and that his eyes had focused upon the calendar of time; he was counting the hours at night looking forward to the morning. The pain that was causing such sorrow would be replaced by the healing balm of God’s morning filled with the sunshine of His love.

I hear a voice calling from a distant mountain peak and read the words, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Obviously the writer had run into something he couldn’t get out of. He couldn’t think his way out, pay his way out, or trick his way out. He found the answer to his dilemma though, in the One who was the creator of the rugged mountain in his way. He proclaimed his trust in the God of all creation knowing his cries would not go unheeded!

I listened again and this time heard a lament where the Psalmist seemed to say that at one time he had been isolated from the house of God……. Because I heard him say, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm122:1) He does not explain the reason for this separation -it could have been a result of his own poor choices; or a misunderstanding; or a cooling of his fervor for God but he keenly felt the loss of fellowship. The result was when the invitation came he joyfully went to the sanctuary to praise God.

And so from Psalm 1 to 150, the Psalmist had run into a whole gambit of situations. He had experienced intense sorrow, sadness, suffering, deception and even sin. He had been in TOUGH situations, but this Psalm (Psalm 150) says that in spite of what the weary pilgrim has gone through………
The circle of God’s ever sustaining love had brought him through every event, every situation, and every tragedy that he had journey through and with a voice of exaltation he exclaims His joyous praise to his Divine companion!

IT IS TIME TO PRAISE THE LORD! GOD WILL BRING US THROUGH!
PRAISE YE THE LORD!

God’s Daily Provision

Rented Home in Hartley Rhodesia, Africa 1971

GOD’S DAILY PROVISION

Psalm 37:25 (NKJV) Psalm 37:25 (NKJV) “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

This is a well-known verse of scripture and Glyn and I have seen it fulfilled in our lives over and over again. Through-out our years of following the call of God, there has been so many occasions where we had to look to God to meet our daily needs and each time we called on Him for help, He never let us down! Let me share an example with you of God’s unique provision when we were serving Him as missionaries in Africa. This event took place in May of 1971

Our annual conference at Rufaro Mission in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) had come to a close; the missionary families had left to return to their respective Districts and the last trainload/busloads of African believers had returned to their villages. Glyn and I were finally able to load up and make the journey back to our rented home in the small town of Hartley.
This particular conference had been quite a challenge for me, as it had been my turn to cook the meals for the missionary families that had gathered and I did not consider myself a Master Chef!
Added to that we also had a three month old baby – our first; so I was a brand new mother, learning what it was like caring for an infant under rather primitive living conditions!
I was cooking meals for around 20 people, on the old wood stove that my parents had brought to Rhodesia, when I was but a child. It was amazing that it was still going strong.
I might add that cooking in a rather primitive kitchen over a wood burning stove, in the African heat, gave a whole new meaning to the saying; “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”!

A few days after getting back to Hartley I had a very ill husband on my hands. He was running a high fever and was plastered with what appeared to be a bad dose of chicken-pox. I was concerned because of the high fever, so I put a call into Dr. Johan Bower, the only doctor in the small town of Hartley. As soon as he finished his office hours he drove over to our house; (yes, back in the 1970’s a doctor still did make house calls!!).
Concern showed on his face after he had checked Glyn. He took me aside and gravely told me that he was afraid that my husband had contracted Small-pox! He said he needed to call Dr. Mossup, the Government Medical Officer in Gatooma and have him come and give a second opinion.
The next morning both doctors were back at our home trying to come to an agreement on exactly what diagnosis to come up with. Did he have Small-pox or Chicken-pox? Finally they came to the conclusion that he had a bad case of old fashioned “cow-pox”, which he probably contracted from an infected individual at our annual conference we had just returned from.

To err on the side of safety though, Dr. Mossup wanted us to be in quarantine for at least two weeks! I could not even walk to the town for food supplies! It would mean using very creative ideas for meals and praying our canned goods did not run out. Fortunately our milk was delivered to our kitchen doorstep in the early hours each morning, in glass milk bottles, so I knew wouldn’t run out of milk.
Then usually on alternate days, an African delivery man would arrive on a bicycle with a huge grass-woven basket filled with freshly baked bread of various sizes and varieties. His name was “Sixpence”, he always had a big smile and something cheerful to say. In return, to show my appreciation for his faithful deliveries I would give him a large bundle of Chamolia leaves, (Kale), from our garden to take home to his wife to cook with their evening meal. They loved to make a vegetable relish with it, to eat along with their sadza (stodgy porridge made from maize), which was their staple diet. He was always thankful for my simple gesture of friendship. If nothing else I knew we would have fresh bread and milk for the duration of the quarantine time!

The morning following Dr. Mossup’s decision, I heard the happy whistling of Sixpence coming down the lane behind the kitchen. I was waiting for him with a cool cup of water to quench his thirst and then looked into the large basket to select what bread I needed. Looking back now, I have to chuckle. The bread was not wrapped or bagged – just freshly baked loaves sitting in a large grass-woven basket that had a woven lid. How many hands had already touched those loaves was an unknown question! I can just see the modern day Health Department Inspectors screaming foul! Amazingly enough this was the way of life during this era in Rhodesia and none of us died from plague!

Sixpence was chattering away asking how our baby was etc. so I told him how very ill Glyn was. Immediately his face clouded over with concern and he asked how I was going to buy fresh vegetables or meat if I could not leave the house. I assured him that God would take care of us and for him just to continue stopping by to see if I needed bread.
Two days later I heard the familiar whistle and knew Sixpence was on his bread delivery round. I opened the kitchen door to greet him, a beaming face awaited me and in his hands was a bag of assorted fresh vegetables and tied to the back of his bicycle was a rather vocal, cranky chicken!
Happily Sixpence explained that because I had been good to him when his children were hungry, it was now his turn to make sure we did not go hungry!
I was deeply touched and humbled by this unsolicited act of kindness – God had taken care of our need for fresh food by sending us Sixpence, who over time had built up a friendship of trust with us!

This event took place over 47 years ago and I am here to tell you that right up to the writing of this Nugget, God has continued to be faithful to us in supplying our needs as we trusted in His provision. On the many times that we have reached out to Him in faith; His provision has come right when we needed it the most!
It never ceases to amaze me the unique ways that God will use to care for the needs of His Children.
Let me encourage you today ………..
Never think a kindness you do will not be remember and it could well come back to bless you down the road when you least expect it!

Truly we can say with the Psalmist; “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”