On being sent out to play in the playground

Yesterday, in Saskatoon, I stopped by one of the large Christian bookstores on my way out of town.  (I know it’s part of the ghetto but they do have some books I want)

The name “Brennon Manning” has had a familiar ring to it and I thought  – that’s just because he’s written books I’ve heard lots about. 

Then, today, I looked at the back cover of a book and there he was – his picture.  And it came back to me – I know him.  We have talked to each other.

Back in the late 1980’s I was at a Christian Medical and Dental Society(CMDS) sponsored continuing education conference in Kenya for medical and dental missionaries.  These are great conferences and are still going on.  Those needing continuing education points to maintain theri licences can usually get all the points they need at this week long educational event.  And there is also an inspirational speaker for the week.  So both brains and hearts get refreshed.

When I went to this conference, I was at a bit of a turning point.  We(Leo and I) had been talking about resigning as missionaries.  Our kids were going to be university age and we knew we could not afford to send them to school.  Leo was also getting worn out and changes were occuring in medical missions philisophically that made being a medical missionary more frustrating for Leo. 

I had always had a strong sense of God calling me to be a dentist and a missionary.  And I was having a hard time dealing with going back to North America – as if I was quitting, selling out.  I didn’t really want to leave.  But I could see that Leo needed to go and since he was the guy I was married to …

So – Brennan Manning was the inspirational speaker for that week in Kenya.  He shared with us from his own life honestly and openly.  And he made himself available to anyone who wanted to talk.  I am not the kind of person who does this easily but Manning was the kind of guy who when he said come and talk, you knew he meant it.  So I sought out some counsel from him. 

He told me this:
      God has a very large playground.  Going back to Canada does not mean that you are leaving the playground.  You’ll just be going to a different part of it.  If you go to a different part of His playground, God will help you find something fun and fulfilling to do there too.

I don’t know what I learned as far as dental knowledge that week, but I’ve never forgotten what he said to me.

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