Dinner with Florence (left) and her family
Peanut sauce and rice with friends
Rebecca, a good friend who is my high school girls’ bible study
It’s Sunday morning. I walk at a brisk pace down the road from the hospital compound to the church in Tsiko (the village nearest me). I hear the drums, the always-too-loud-trumpets and the most beautiful voices raised in song. My heart leaps with joy and my pace quickens. I do not want to miss even one second of worshipping God with my Togolese brothers and sisters. I arrive at the church and nearly explode with joy. I find a place in the congregation next to friends who I have made over the past 9 months. As we worship our creator and sing songs about God’s faithfulness I praise God for bringing me to Togo. I praise God for the loneliness. I praise God for the confusion. I praise God for his grace in my doubt. I praise God for the lizard that fell on my head. I praise God for his goodness; for his promise to redeem me and refine me through hard things. I praise God for Florence; I see her dancing down the aisle; hands raised, eyes lifted to the heavens, face radiating thankfulness, voice lifted high in praise, heart delighting fully in the lover of her soul, Jesus Christ. When I look at Florence, one of the most truly beautiful women I have ever met, I see Jesus Christ. And I praise God for the gift of knowing her; for allowing me to witness her life that is completely surrendered to the Lord. I pray that God would shape me into a woman like Florence, a woman who is consumed with displaying God’s glory.
At church, we sing a song in Ewe, one of the tribal languages in the region of Togo where I live, that repeats the word “amenuveve”. I asked one of my Togolese friends what the word meant and they told me that it means grace. Amenuveve is why I am in Togo Africa. Grace. Before I came to Togo I was so excited about all the ways I would be serving and all the ways that I would be furthering the kingdom of God. I didn’t realize that God would use me living in Togo for a year to show me that I am so terribly weak and that without amenuveve I can do nothing.
I am surrounded by individuals who model Christ-likeness. Amenuveve. I get to invest in the lives of missionary kids. Amenuveve. I battle extreme loneliness. Amenuveve. I get to see people everyday who are from a different nation and culture than myself serving the same God I do. Amenuveve. Mice scamper through my kitchen on a regular basis. Amenuveve. All of these pieces to the puzzle called “my life” are GRACE because I know what the final picture looks like! God promises to redeem the ugly in my life, to the praise of his glory. All of these pieces that oftentimes seem random or don’t seem to make sense join together perfectly to create a beautiful portrait that says “GRACE”. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. My entire life has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ—Amenuveve
Story by McKenzie McDaniel