|Chapter 20||I GAVE YOU TO GOD|
By now you probably have had a phone call from Evelyn in Ohio telling you the unbelievable news! I myself can hardly believe it. Yesterday I received permission from the Mission to go to the United States for a one month visit with you. I will not use Mission money and it will be my vacation time. David arrived at our front door here in Udorn the other day. What a shock! We thought he was there in Florida! It was then he told us that I was to go to the States for Christmas and that the children would pay the plane fare! So tonight, Elmer and David will go to Bangkok to buy the ticket. I will stay there with you, Mom, until after your birthday. We will telegram the exact arrival time. You know how I hate to fly - even with Elmer. But since our furlough isn't due for another year, I felt I wanted to see you. This all seems like a dream! I can hardly believe I'll be there for Christmas. Keep calm! I'll see you soon.
It was a joyous reunion at my mother's home in New Port Richey, Florida. But Mother was quick to let me know how she felt about my coming back from Thailand before our furlough was due. "Why did you leave Thailand?" she asked. "I gave you to God and I am not taking you back now. You don't have to take care of me. God will take care of me." After I explained to her that I was going to return to Thailand in one month, she was happy about my coming home.
I learned that Mother had four prayer requests and as she put it, "God will answer them in His time."
First, she did not want to die alone.
Second, she didn't want a lot of pain.
Third, she didn't want to die in bed.
Fourth, she didn't want to go to a hospital.
I thought her third request was unusual and asked her about it. "My sister died in bed," she responded. "I don't want to be found lying dead in my bed."
Mom and I had a wonderful month together. We visited relatives and special friends. I helped her wrap her Christmas gifts and put up the Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve, we sat together in her living room and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas programs on television. Three of our children came during the holidays and Elmer and David managed to get a Christmas phone call through to us from Thailand.
My mother delighted in hearing me speak in some of the local churches. She was so happy to have a missionary daughter. We enjoyed long talks. I took many pictures. Each day was precious. On her birthday, I bought a huge cake and invited her friends to the celebration. The very next day, January 19, 1982, Mother stood at the back door of her little house and watched me get into a car that would take me to the airport and back to Thailand. The month had passed all too quickly.
In April, Mother made a tape recording and sent it to me:
"So long and not goodbye. God bless you all and be with you, till we meet again. If not on earth, we'll meet up yonder in the Glory Land. Say 'So long, not goodbye.' Someday it is 'good morning' up there. Thank you, Jesus. Amen."
Within four months, she was in heaven. With her passing, I lost my most faithful prayer warrior and best letter writer. My loss was surely heaven's gain. I was not able to return to the States for her funeral. I was especially thankful that Dale was with Mother when God took her home. I felt he represented me. After the funeral, Dale wrote us a most comforting letter: "Grandma handled the stroke with a touching courage and I admired her composure. 'Jesus' was the last word she ever said. The funeral was sad, but beautiful. She was free."
I was comforted in knowing that I was in Thailand where she wanted me to be. She could have said, "Please don't go back. I am old. Stay with me. I need you." Instead, she sent me back to Thailand with the words, "I gave you to God as a missionary and I'm not taking you back from that promise!"
Oh, yes - God answered all four of her requests!
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