Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Part III---Tell Me the Story

(this is fourth in a series of blogs...if you are just starting to read, scroll down to the prologue and start there...)

Jack and Tootsie's phone rang non-stop. Jack smiled alot.

Things began to take shape. We were to meet with the new mission committee dinner Thurs...sharing time Friday...lunch with Greg ("he's the greatest guy..."Jack said)... lunch with Jim...

We met alot of people. Faces, names, quick smiles and hugs. We sat in alot of circles and told ALLLLOOOOOTTTTTTT of Africa stories.

As Jeff would talk, I would watch the faces. They were passionate. Spell-bound. Interested....

They couldn't get enough.

I was amazed at this. Most people enjoy a story or two...but these folks would CHOOSE to listen for hours at a time. We'd stop when WE got tired. Usually, it was the other way around.

It seemed to me...and I was still cautious in my assessment...but, it did seem...God was building in these people a deep love and passion for the Ft. Portal work. I wanted that to happen...but could it really? Congregation-wide? Kids to adults? Elders, missions committee....I was watchful. But still hesitant a bit.

At night, we would return to Jack and Tootsie's. Over a bowl of cereal we would talk about what we were experiencing. Jack would smile. Remind us he was praying.
And somewhere in the talking, Jack would say. "If God makes this happen, you're gonna be loved like you've never been loved before. Because Glenwood will TAKE CARE OF YOU. I just know it."

Then Jack and Tootsie would ask Jeff to tell just one more story....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Part II--Wednesday Night Supper

(This is the third blog in a series of blogs...if you are a first time reader, scroll down to the prologue and start there!)

Jack emailed us that the church in Tyler wanted us to visit over Easter weekend. He didn't know exactly what we would be able to do while we were there, or who we would be able to meet...but could we come?

Sure. I was cautiously optimistic. Heavy on the caution...we'd been through this so many times. It was sometimes painful to get your hopes up.

We drove into Tyler in the late afternoon and were directed to the church building. (Thank you, Tanner) The church ate together on Wednesday nights and it would give us an initial opportunity to meet folks. I smiled at alot of faces while trying to feed my 4yr old and 2 yr old chicken spaghetti. (Did I mention I was HUGELY pregnant!)

The associate minister was visiting with my husband and I overheard snatches of the conversation. "...give you about five minutes....question answer format...really informal...intial introduction..."

We were directed into the auditorium and sat down towards the front (mother of toddlers nightmare---the FRONT of an auditorium of people you'd like to make a nice impression on---egads!) As the minister began to introduce my husband, I noticed three stools in the for the minister, one for my husband and... who is supposed to sit on that other one?....oh no! Yep.
"Come on down Cheryl. We want to put YOU on the spot!" (many thanks Rob!)
I waddled up to the front and my loving husband quickly handed me the microphone FIRST. Great.
I think I said something about world peace. (thanks for the tip Aunt Pat)
Jeff said some good things, we passed the microphone around a bit and then Rob asked if the congregation had any questions.

The first question came from an older gentleman near the back. He said, "What can we give to you?" (precious Jim Heaven right to someone, I'm sure....)

We answered something about prayer and encouragement...

The older gentleman shook his head and said, "No. I mean financially. What would it take for this church to take care of your family in every way?"

Uhhhhmmmm....what did he say? Rob said, "Jim, we'll get Jeff to write the details of his financial needs down for us."

I remember hands going up all over the auditorium and us answering questions right and left. Rob ended the worship time with prayer and people came from every direction. We talked and hugged and were loved on and EMBRACED.

As we drove to Jack and Tootsie's house later that night, Jeff asked me what I thought.
I said, " I feel like we've come home." He said that he felt the same way.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Part I--McDonalds

My most memorable McDonald's meal took place in Abilene. I was hugely pregnant with our third child and we were trying to survive an extended furlough while looking for a new overseeing church.

Jack and Tootsie. We'd been looking for them for the whole lectureship and finally, on the last day, we met them face to face. They asked us have lunch with them.

Jack was the head of the mission's committee at a church in Tyler. We were meeting to discuss...well...our life. Our dreams. Our struggles. Our hopes.

Everything really. And we decided to do that discussing over greasy McDonald's burgers. Jack and Tootsie were patient with us. We chose McD's because of the play place.

I remember telling Jack alot of stories while Tootsie madly tore open ketchup packets to keep our kiddos happy and stuffed with french fries!

I remember feeling tired and weary to my bones. Jeff told all we had been witnessing in Uganda. I listened to stories I had lived and re-lived so many times, wondering if anybody would ever EMBRACE this ministry as we had. Share the passion with us.

I couldn't read Jack's mind. He was thoughtful. He used few words and made no promises but said he would pray.

We hear that alot when we talk about the work here. "We will pray." Precious commitment. One we do not take for granted.

That day, at McDonalds, I learned several things:
1. Tootsie is the world's fastest ketchup packet opener---seriously!
2. Jack and Tootsie are Kylie's grandparents (long story)
3. When Jack says he will pray....he means it.

It was just a visit at McDonalds. But, oh, how it changed my world.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


...My Uncle Tommy and Aunt Pat moved to Tyler when I was really young. I remember that we all thought it was very far away. I was EAST TEXAS for goodness sakes! :-)

We got Uncle Tommy's church bulletin every week. I read it, oddly enough. Alot of names that I didn't recognize usually...but I read Tommy's writings at the front then scanned the youth group news and announcements for my family's names...

Christmas 2001. We were in the States to raise money and search for a supporting congregation. We had just traveled for 3 weeks, across the United States, making contact with all the congregations that had supported us in the past. We were warmly received each time. But, over and over, we were told "no" to our request for oversight.
I was newly pregnant (SURPRISE!) and very sick. It had been a long journey.
I was home for Christmas and the whole family was together. It was great.
As the festivities ended and our family prepared to return to their homes, Uncle Tommy gave Jeff an email contact.
Jack. Missions Committee chairman.
Tommy said it was worth a try. He said that Glenwood was a wonderful place and that the church loved missionaries.

Over the next few weeks, we sent requests and information to several different churches. There were no immediate we began to wait....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas....

...well, at least it looks Merry in our living room!
The Christmas tree is up! The kids hung ornaments yesterday with Alvin and the Chipmunks (of course) singing carols in the background. And I have been hanging up Santa stuff and draping tinsel and lights like nobody's business.
Now, I am tired. But the result of our labor is pretty great.
I think I'll go make a cup of apple cider, stare at the Christmas lights...and then drift off to sleep.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mam-ma's Recipes...

I made pies this week. Apple, pumpkin and chocolate cream.

When I got married, Mom had Mam-ma write out recipes for me and Mom did the same.

Pretty remarkable how making a pie or cake off a recipe with Mam-ma's or Mom's handwriting can bring comfort to my soul.

But is sure does. For a brief moment, I am in Mam-ma's kitchen with her. I can see her hands...hear her voice. "Always wash your hands when you are cooking. One time I was at a friend's house and she kept wiping at her nose while she cooked. I'nt that AWFUL!!!" She said it with mock disdain and a smile.
"oooooo I can't wait for everyone to get here..." and she'd go through the list of what she had made for each person...

... apple pie for Dad, coconut cream for Pat, german chocolate cake for Tommy, angel food cake for Tanner and Reese, and I can't remember the specifics for the rest of us...but Mam-ma sure could...

That was her self-appointed job. Providing sweet treats for each and everyone. She loved it so much. And you didn't hear us complaining...:-)

After cooking, Mam-ma would wash every dish ("I can't STAND a messy kitchen!"), pour herself a glass of iced tea, wrap a paper napkin around the bottom of the cup and sit in her chair to watch her "story". Or, if she wasn't too beat, she'd pull out the cards or Boggle and play a game with me at the kitchen bar.

We'd answer the phone for Granddaddy's lawn mower repair business, wait for Granddaddy to come in smelling of gasoline and oil, and maybe get to eat a "good 'ole sanwich" before Mom and Dad came to pick me up!

Good times.

Funny how pie recipes can bring all that back...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! May your day be filled with wonderful memories and the makings of more to come!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Usual

The house is finally quiet. Two doll blankets, one Tonka truck and a few odd blocks litter the living room.The hum of the generator allows me to use this computer and the lights. Mosquitoes are buzzing...and I feel slightly chilled. It rained hard again today. It rains everyday now. The roads are very muddy and I wear sweaters morning and night. Hot coffee and hot tea are my mainstays.

This morning started with Silas..."momma (three pounds on the head) pahcohn (popcorn?)". After a muffled "no" from sleepy mom...he reconsiders... "appah joos?"

We got the apple juice and mixed the waffles. Everyone fought to have a turn at cracking an egg or stirring. Diapers were changed, clothes were found, many hugs given... Alex made me a construction paper burrito and Kinley said that she liked to tell me her secrets...(smile).
School consisted of dinosaurs, Tower of Babel and the Roman Empire. Discussed seperately, of course, but thinking back...might have been more interesting together.:-)
Alex practiced "u" and Kinley practiced the soft "c"--lace, face, pace...We added, graphed and counted.

Isaac's nap book was "Where is my Blankie" and Silas' nap book was "Touch and Feel Wild Animals" (actually not an idea we should support...) :-]

We had peanut butter and apples for lunch---sour cream enchiladas for supper. Isaac wore his patch for nearly two whole hours, cuddled with me for 15 minutes and asked for chocolate 187 times (okay, I didn't actually keep track...)
We cut Alex's hair, everyone took baths and the kiddos are now asleep in their beds.

I've just reconnected with friends in the cyber world and will now make one last walk through the house, re-situate mosquito nets over the kids, pray again for God's protection and peace...and eventually,I will fall asleep...

Its Thanksgiving week... and for all these "usuals", I am deeply thankful.

Jehovah Shamma---He is so very good.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thank you Jeremy, Steven, Twila, Mac...

I love singing. Praising. Worship.

Besides my family, group worship in my own culture and language is what I think I miss the most about America.

I have been overwhelmingly blessed with worship memories. Devos with the youth group, devos around the campfire at summer camp, singing groups in college, Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night services all my life, Faith Quest...

Most of the distinctive memories involve close friends, being outside and really, REALLY GOOD singing!

I have come to love worshipping "the African way" a great deal. I love the rythyms, harmonies and MOTION that African music demands. Most folks here give in to that musical drive and can really let go with their worship.

Watching God love and save our friends here has been one of my favorite worship experiences...To witness men and women who are dead in their spirits...come to Life in Him...its spectacular. Their worship through the process is brilliant to watch. At first subdued, unnatural....then over time...passionate and emotional.

There is a gap in most young mother's lives. That time frame from your child's infancy to age4or 5 where your worship time in church becomes a wrangle session to serve those around you. Keeping toddlers and preschoolers occupied, quiet and respectful for a set period of time (longer than 30 seconds) is almost impossible without the aid of drugs. (which I officially, on the record DO NOT support--but have been tempted on occasion to actually use! :-))

These precious (?) and valuable(!) "training years" for my children have left me in a 7 year void of sorts. The constant interruptions during worship coupled with the singing of songs in languages I don't totally understand does leave something amiss.

So the Lord created CD's. MP3's. IPODs. :-)

And He gave His servants the songs.

When I get a CD in the mail, I devour it. Read the lyrics, the thank you's, any description of where the song came from. I listen and re-listen to the words. And after a day or two of learning the happens. I am lost in worship. I am edified. I find a priceless and distinct outlet for my confession, renewal and expression of my love and thanks.

I think it is the desire of most Christian songwriters and performers that their listeners are taken before the Throne. I believe that their goal is realized in many different places and circumstances.

But I have never experienced the filling, precious gift of that music, like I have in this far off Africa place. There is a dimension to the worship I don't think I would have been forced to realize until I faced the challenges of service here....

Desperate desire.

...for God, His Healing and Grace, and my need to say "Thank you" and "please give me more. "

All in all... a pretty great thing. My needing Him.

So, "thank you" to Steven, Jeremy, Twila, Chris, Mac, Bebo...

I'll probably never meet you in person...but I join you in the worship you've recorded and shared. I am blessed and brought closer to our Lord.
He is good.

The Offer

There was a baby in the house the last few days! And it was delightful. Our friends, Doug and Destiny, went away for a few days to celebrate their anniversary and they entrusted us with their treasure named Jotham. He was a joy to have around. He is cuddly, cute and loved to smile at his Aunt Cheryl. I got to have all this enjoyment without morning sickness or labor. AND after two days of fun, I handed him back to Mom and had a whole nights sleep again. Being "Aunt" is pretty great!

When our friends came to pick up their little one, we invited them to join us for a cookout. As we were eating, IT happened. I think our friends were still a little giddy from their trip...or something.... but still, with our children as witnesses, IT did happen.

The Offer was made.

"So, guys. You should get away sometime. WE'LL WATCH YOUR KIDS."

Did we hear them right? Are they thinking clearly?

Who cares?!?!?! They OFFERED!!!!

And away we go... :-)

My New Friend

Our last trip to the capital of Uganda had my mind on one thing. I needed a friend. And I was set to find that friend.

I asked God to provide. I was asking, not for necessity. But out of longing. And a tad bit of desperation.

One shopping day. Pile of shillings in my bag. Deliberate walk to the back of the huge, amazing department store in Kampala.

And there....with etheral lights shining around it...and the hint of the hallelujah chorus in the background...was My New Friend.

Now, I was warned about buying my Friends in life. But sometimes you have to make the exception.

And so I did. My bright shining Friend stands proudly in my laundry room. Her name is Whirlpool and she hums delightfully as she works.
She gives to me graciously. Scrubbing, wringing, cleaning and releasing me to serve my family in other ways. All her valves and doohickies work brilliantly and the floods of the laundry room have ceased. And I love her.

Sometimes, friends are friends forever. I don't know if this relationship will last that long....but for now, she makes me smile everytime I see her.
And that is a great friend to have.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lessons from the Blue Book

The Blue Book. I think I used a blue song book in church for all of my childhood. I remember going to college in Lubbock and attending church where the songbooks were green. It was a big change for me. :-)

The Blue Book makes me think of my Dad, pitchpipes, Sunday night singings, and learning to sing Alto. All very warm memories.

Very often, in difficult times, Jeff and I are drawn to our copy of the Blue Book. We sing through the songs and find comfort, encouragement, We sing these songs to our kids. We want all that for them too.
These songs,sung a bazillion times in my childhood, come to my mind and heart at opportune alter my attitude, wake me up, make me smile and very, very often....remind me of my Hero and how He lives in many precious people in my life.

*Victory in Jesus--Known in our house as "Papa's favorite." Cuz it is...
*Amazing Grace--the only song my Granny could sing after a series of strokes. Couldn't say our names or remember recipes or even talk much at all...but she could always sing Amazing Grace.
*Follow Dad's other favorite :-)
*How Great Thou Art
*Oh Lord our Lord--Sung at ACU with tons of people--heavenly!
*Where We Never Grow Old--the song Mamma sang with us just before she went Home.
*I Have Decided to Follow Jesus-- sung when I was baptized
*Freely, Freely --sung when Jeff was baptized
*Blessed Assurance--
*Just As I Am--
*Walking in Sunlight
*Trust and Obey
*Sing and Be Happy
*Ring the Message Out--learned this song in Loy and Donna Mitchell's living room(the Mitchell's were my first Africa connection)

On and on it goes...a heritage in song of faith. Old tunes, sometimes old words...very current Truth.

So often, a phrase gets stuck in my head. This morning, "Grace, grace. God's grace. Grace that can pardon and cleanse within. Marvelous grace. Infinite grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin." Reminding me of His new mercy every morning. And how I should have that same mercy for all those around me.

And for the past few days, "Count Your Blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done..." With water and power off, I needed the reminder.

So, I'm thankful this morning. For Grace, His Blessings, and His Spirit for giving me yet another lesson from the Blue Book.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Pronounced "hah koonuh". You may recognize it from "Lion King". It means "there isn't".
And it is the theme of our last few days in the Cash Household.



Mom's Energy, Stamina and Ability to Cope---Hakuna!!!!!

It seems our water tank has a broken cover and has been filled with avocados from the tree that grows just over it. The avocados were rotting in the water...and, well, YUCK!!! Our water was smelling very rank and so my husband and Ronald spent Sunday evening mucking out our water tank.

In the process, our water pipes have developed a problem and no water has flowed into our home for three days. Not fun. Jeff has dug up pipes and worked to solve the problem, but today, in desperation, we have called in a plumber. This scares me. Jeff's problem solving abilities FAR exceed most...and if he couldn't get to the bottom of this himself....I fear for what the answer may be.

As to the electricity...I don't know. It has been on and off and on and off and then just OFF for days.

We are coping. We are back to "jerry can" living. All of our water is collected in jerry cans and used conservatively throughout the day. We heat water for dishes and baths on the stove, bathe in basins and creatively re-use water. (used bath water re-used to flush the toilets...)

It is amazing how very often I need to wash my hands though--we Americans sure do love soap and water!!!

So currently, Jeff, Ronald and the plumber are trying to decide what to do next (move to another house?!?!), the kids are waiting for school to begin and me, well, I am sitting at our computer, making use of the electricity that just came back on, reading blogs and trying to ignore the plumbing woes in our life. :-)
The reprieve won't last long though...reality calls me back from blogland. And I must go...