The Waiting Season (by Becca)

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God... For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." (Romans 8:18-19, 24-25 ESV)

Our kids perform a song they've been practicing with the other missionary children of the area.

In Michigan, March was always one of the hardest months for me. It was usually cold, cloudy, and dreary, and we were generally all sick with the winter viruses that we had somehow managed to avoid until right when winter was finally supposed to be over. We were waiting eagerly, impatiently; longing for sunshine and warmth and the better health and happiness that came with it. Sometimes, we would get a brief glimpse of spring, only to have it snatched away by another snow or ice storm. We waited for the sun to return and life to begin again, but that usually didn't happen until April (if then), despite the calendar's bright assurances that spring was actually already here.

Caspian celebrated his 8th birthday this March.

Rather surprisingly, March feels similar in Togo, but for a completely different reason. March is a month of waiting here, too: waiting for RAIN. In Togo, March is generally the hottest month of the year, and it comes at the end of the long, dry season that begins in November. Everyone feels tired and hot and dusty. For the Togolese, the feeling of waiting is probably even more intense, since their very livelihood as subsistence farmers depends on the rains coming on time. Sometimes the clouds will build up, the feeling of pressure in the air will grow, and we'll even hear thunder in the distance, but the rain doesn't come. There is no relief from the oppressive heat.

Gwynevere and a friend sit outside on a hot, dry day.

Just as the earth itself seems to cry out for the sun to shine again in Michigan and bring the green of spring, the earth itself seems to cry out here in Togo for the rains to come again, to bring cooler temperatures and fresh breezes and the green of the growing season.

Walking home from church on a hot, dry day.

I don't think it's coincidence that in nature we have this season of waiting, of breathless anticipation, of desperation for life to begin. It is a reflection of what all creation is waiting for... "we wait for it with patience."

Elora loves holding our neighbors' baby monkey.

What does waiting with patience mean? I tell my children it means waiting without complaining, and that's part of it. But I think a truly patient person sees waiting as an opportunity rather than a burden; they think about how they can use the waiting time to prepare for what lies ahead. Recently, Seth and I went to visit a church up the mountain from us that had just been built and was celebrating its inauguration. On the way, we discussed how dry and hot it was. I asked what the farmers were doing right now, with no water for their crops. Our friend who was riding with us started pointing out the fields we passed. They were cleared, furrowed, and in the process of being planted. "They're already planting," she said. "They are just waiting for the rains to come, but they want to be ready when they do." While we were still at the church, a huge storm hit. It has rained almost every day since. That was April 1st. March was over, and the rains had come. The farmers knew they were coming. They hoped for what they could not see, and waited for it with patience, preparing all the while.

Elora and Gwyn get soaked playing in one of our first big rains.

There are so many waiting and preparing seasons in life. Right now I am in a waiting season that many other women experience: I am 5 months pregnant and waiting for my baby to be born. I don't think I'm quite at the "March" stage of waiting yet, which means, for now I'm enjoying the pregnancy and feeling the baby moving inside me, and I'm not yet at the always-uncomfortable-isn't-this-over-yet-get-this-baby-out-of-me stage. But I know it's coming in the next couple of months. It always does. Eventually, waiting becomes uncomfortable and we want to be done. But it would be silly to wait all that time without buying a crib, or baby clothes, or diapers. The waiting season is also a time to get ready for what is coming.

Right now I'm not just waiting for my baby to be born, but also waiting for God to show me exactly what I should be doing here in Togo. Seth has his work at the hospital and clinic, and I am home-schooling the children, but I feel that there are more ways I can contribute to the community and the ministry in and around the hospital. Recently, I realized that while I am waiting, I should also be preparing. I feel like whatever I do will probably involve working with the local children, many of whom don't speak French. So, I have started taking Ewe lessons. Ewe is the tribal language spoken by a lot of the nationals in this area, and the children speak it at home with their parents, speaking French only in school. I don't know exactly what I will be doing yet, but I want to be prepared.

Noah is one of several Togolese children who visits us regularly.
He only speaks Ewe.

Last Saturday, my two older daughters and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a remote village named Gbadi Bena where some Togolese believers are trying to start a new church. Some of the church leaders from our town had somehow acquired Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to hand out to the children there. Yes, Christmas boxes in April-- talk about waiting! Gbadi Bena was not easy to get to, and one of the friends I went with mentioned that most people she talked to even here in Togo had never heard of it (Google maps hasn't, either, by the way). We drove for an hour on the main road going north from Adeta, where we live, and then we turned off onto a winding dirt road going up a mountain. "This is the road to Gbadi Bena!" one of the other passengers told us. "Oh good," we thought, "that wasn't too far." What we didn't realize was that we would be on the road to Gbadi Bena for two and a half hours as it wound back and forth up onto the plateau, getting progressively windier, narrower, and more full of pot-holes. Waiting patiently to get to our destination was hard, especially for my six-year-old daughter, Elora. But, while we were driving there, one of the Togolese pastors who had come with us, Pastor Jeremy, talked to us about his heart for the remote mountain villages. "We have churches all along the main roads," he said, "but still in the mountains there are people who have never heard the gospel. My own parents were some of those people. My father finally did hear about Jesus before he died, but my mother never did." How many people are still waiting? 

The road to Gbadi Bena and the car we rode in.

When we finally got to Gbadi Bena, we discovered that the people there are in a waiting season of their own. Right now they are meeting in a house, but they want to build a church building. They have cleared the land and dug the trenches for the foundation, but they don't yet have the resources to build a church. They showed us the area they cleared, and we prayed with them that God would provide. They also don't have a pastor yet. Some of the pastors in the other churches in the area would like to help, but it is really hard for them to get to that remote of a village on a regular basis. So, they are also waiting for a pastor, or for one of the nearby pastors to get better transportation.

The area cleared for the new church building...
except for the large stump in the middle!

After showing us where the church will someday be (they hope for what they do not see), they took us back to the house where several dozen children were waiting for their boxes, singing Bible songs and listening to some women teach them from the Bible.

The children had to wait a while longer, because we then had to figure out how to distribute the boxes, because there were more children than boxes. Eventually they decided to limit the distribution to those on a previously-made list and give the rest candy. It was hard to exclude any of the children, but they all waited patiently to receive their boxes, and those who didn't receive boxes didn't even complain, but watched the others open their boxes with interest. I felt like my own kids could learn a lot from them! For their own part, Arwen and Elora were glad when their waiting was finally rewarded and they got to hand out the boxes alongside Pastor Jeremy's son, Jean. Arwen remembers helping me shop for things to put in shoe boxes like these since she was very young. We never expected to get to see some make it to their destination. Just one more thing we were waiting for and preparing for without even realizing it! 

You are probably in a waiting season in some way in your life right now. Maybe you are waiting for the right job, the right spouse, or the right opportunity. You might be waiting to get accepted into college, or to graduate. You might even just be waiting to figure out what you are waiting for! My prayer for you is that God will give you patience and help you see the ways in which he is preparing you and teaching you in this time. Thank you for your prayers for us, as we learn to wait patiently for so many things.

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." (Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV)


  1. What a beautiful message. Thank you for the update, with tears in my eyes. God is blessing you all through the waiting!

  2. Great truth here. I'm so very tired of waiting, though. :/ Ah, we each have our own struggles, don't we? In any case, I'm enjoying following your adventures on FB and here! However, I still am jarred when I'm reminded that everyone else calls you Becca! haha

    1. Hi, Sarah. Marian here! :D I hear you about being tired of waiting. I love how the King James version of the Bible calls patience "longsuffering" because that's what it really feels like... suffering for a long time! I appreciate your reading and commenting and I will pray that God will give you supernatural peace and joy in the now even as you wait. I truly believe it can only come from him, and not from anything we can do (although we can choose to receive it or not).
      I apologize for my identity issues! Haha. I love that you still call me Marian. I miss you and I'm so thankful the internet allows us to stay in touch!