It was time.
As the sun descended beyond the horizon line and pulled every last bit of its radiating strength and comforting warmth beyond our reach, I knew our family needed snug, toasty, heat reinforcements.
Well, at least, I did! 😊
During the past week or so, night temperatures have dropped to just above freezing in our part of the world. With no centralized heating (that means no electricity to heat up our house), each room has the potential to transform into a chilly, frost-covered ice box.
It’s at this time of year, the beginning of winter, that I fit every bed in the house with thick, flannel sheets. The boys’ beds are covered in an extra blanket or two. For John and me? I pull out a very special quilt.
Why is this quilt so special?
Well, over fourteen years ago, my sister, Kristina, began designing and creating it for our family. As part of this quilt-making process, she asked our family and friends to take a square and compose a note, share a Bible verse, draw a picture, pen a prayer, or offer a word of encouragement. She took each cheerful square and assembled them and then sewed them one by one across the quilt space. My sister’s hope and desire were that we would be blanketed in the love and care of our family and friends – as we lived out our lives in southern Africa.
This quilt would be a visual representation of God’s Presence, provision, and protection.
In the words of David:
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
New International Version, Psalm 4:8
Well, here we are.
This bedspread of prayer, security and protection has covered us for nearly 14 years of missionary life.
As I pulled out the quilt and lay it on our bed this past week, I was struck by how many, many, many people who communicated their love and their prayers on this special quilt so many years ago, are still blanketing us with their love and prayers today.
I’m not kidding.
With the exception of just two or three names, over 95% of the people who signed this precious, heart-lifting quilt remain on our prayer team.
I couldn’t be more grateful.
I really couldn’t.
This quilt is a tangible, visual, comforting expression of love and commitment from a group of people who signed on with us in support of our incredible mission life in southern Africa.
We’re still here – and they are, too.
Others have joined us now.
I’m certain if we asked them, they’d sign our prayer quilt too.
You see, my friends, without the support and the care of our friends, our family, and our supporting church communities, who blanket us with prayers of support, protection, provision, cheer and encouragement, health and strength, and sustaining hope to our Heavenly Father, I’m certain we wouldn’t have made it this far and for this long in southern Africa. Together, we’ve prayed and prayed and prayed – for healing, for strength, for help, for support, for Bibles, for tables and chairs, for blankets, for food, for water purification supplies, for fuel, for a vehicle, for rain, for protection, for hope, for joy, for peace, for patience, for schooling assistance, for grace, for forgiveness, for courage, for health, for rest, for sleep, for self-control, for resilience, for discernment, for truth, for friends, for compassion, for computers, for another day and for so many, many, many things over the past 14 years.
My gratitude reaches beyond that southern African sun setting over the horizon line.
And it’s all because of you and your blanketing prayers…
In peace we will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, makes our family dwell in safety.
Thank you for your care and your partnership.
We will go to sleep tonight under your blanketing prayers.
Thank you, Friends.