It was my third day in Mozambique. I was still struggling, crying, broken at night. At this point, I had used most of my paper products for all the tears.

The next morning, at 2:00 am, I woke up, inspired to pray the Jabez prayer in First Chronicles 4:10 for Iris Ministries (the ministry hosting me in Mozambique).

Here’s what I wrote:


Then, I opened the devotional I used on this trip, Francios Fenelon’s Let Go, and opened to Letter 29:


Then, I noticed this further down on the page:


This reading so spoke to me that I wondered about reading on to the next day for a clue of what was to come, but I heard Him say so clearly to me, “I only give you enough grace for today!

Then, I went on to write my Lectio Divina (meaning Divine Reading) and Oratio (Prayer):


The next night, early in the morning, He woke me up. I began to write about more of my feelings…


Then I opened Letter 30 of Fenelon’s Let Go:


Further down, two statements jumped out to me:


As I finished this time with Him, the sun began to rise.

When I went to take a shower, I began to cry out for help, asking for release from this struggle.

Afterward, I had breakfast with some new people from Louisiana. But something was wrong inside. I felt something, as I later wrote (along with some of what took place later that day)…


And that same day I met a friend…


Here’s Joseph, who I later call Jose…


From this point on, the heaviness lightened and the days got brighter.

To be continued…


My bed, where I would spend time with the Lord. Notice the mosquito net?

Journal entry — Friday, April 26, 2002

Awake at 4:10 am – I’m seeking You, Lord. Still crying through my time with You in the middle of the night. All of my insecurities have surfaced and my brokenness is tangible. I feel so vulnerable. It’s like the floodgates have opened. Where is all this grief and emptiness coming from?

I’m fasting. Have been taking liquids and a protein bar yesterday. Also a packet of vitamins.

I’m still using Francois Fenelon’s book, Let Go, for my devotional and writing those phrases that speak to my heart:

…God will certainly sustain you in your time of suffering. I can certainly understand how difficult it is for you to wait before God and do all the things you used to do, but be as faithful as you can… A person who is in such a time of distress as you, needs to look to God for sustenance, even though you may not feel like doing it.

Do not be overly concerned about your feelings at this point. I am happy to tell you that God is not expecting any particular kind of emotion from you. All He asks is that you remain faithful. And I rather think that a faithfulness unsustained by pleasant emotion is far purer and reliable than one which depends on tender feelings. Faith which is built on emotion is resting on a very changeable foundation…” (from the chapter entitled, Letter 28)

Fenelon’s words speak so clearly to how I’m feeling. You, O Lord, are giving me the grace to persevere and be fully functional during the day. Amazingly, no one in my room ever wakes up as I quietly struggle through the night.

God reminded me of Micah 6:8:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself andwalk humbly with your God?” (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC))

Later I made this journal entry of the day’s events:

Woke up with a desire to speak to Pastor Peter (from Calgary, Canada) who spoke at church service last night. I shared with him my struggles since I arrived and my belief that I was not here to minister in the medical area, but as an intercessor.

He really had compassion for me and encouraged me, telling me that he believed I’m here to encourage, comfort and edify the nurses who labor here.

Met Marilyn, Theresa and Terry from Canada at breakfast.

Wrote an e-mail to be sent to Joel and Tyler (my sons), telling them of my safe arrival.


The garbage dump

We (Iris Ministry workers and volunteers) participated in the ministry offered to those who live in and around a great garbage dump this morning, from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Several of us visited huts in the surrounding area inviting the residents to come to the meeting. There are many families living at this multi-acre garbage heap, smoke rising continually from it’s midst. Children walking barefoot through the trash and glass.

Heidi Baker ministered the gospel and allowed all of us short term ministers to share our testimonies (one of the team members translated our words into Portuguese). Heidi has an amazing ability to reach the lost. The poor are drawn to her.

The full-time missionaries set up a Medical clinic afterwards to care for the needs of the  sick and poor. Paula, a nurse from New Zealand, is the full time missionary that oversees this work. She knows the local dialect, Portuguese, and is truly amazing as she works to meet the varied needs of all the people who come.


Me (the short one :)) with Cheryl, Melodie and Katlin (from left to right)

Katlin, a young medical student from Canada, stuck herself with a safety pin as she was redressing a wound and became frazzled for fear of contracting AIDS. We rallied around to support and encourage her.

Later, Katlin confided in me that she came to Mozambique because her mother wanted her to, not from any personal desire or leading. Her mother was sending her on safari in South Africa after her time at Iris Ministries, so she was looking forward to that. My thought was, “this is difficult enough when You send us here, my Lord. How difficult it is without Your calling and empowering. Please help her, Lord.”

Took short nap.

Went to youth conference with several of the short-term missionaries. Three new short-term missionaries have come from Louisiana, Dr. Jim, his wife Diane, and friend, Melodie.



Nuberto, the Iris Ministry youth pastor, led the meeting. Special speaker, Nico, (short-term missionary), spoke  on “love”. Most of the service was in Portugese. How awesome the youth are!

As I was sitting there, I thought of Genesis 1:2-3, and as I read it in the Amplified Bible, You added a personal message for me:

“The earth (Sharon) was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.”

“And God said, ‘Let there be light (Sharon); and there was light.'” (AMPC)

After the service I returned to the compound to get something to drink and go to bed. I saw a handwritten note on the bulletin board in the dining room. It was Song of Solomon 2:11-13 (King James Version) and  reminded of a card I received from my friend, Lori, just before I left for Mozambique. She had written this same scripture.

“For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.

“The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.

“The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!”

In light of all my personal distress, Lord, are these promises for me to hold on to? “Let there be light” and let “the time of singing” come, O Lord!

The Featured Image for this blog shows me smiling but it was taken near the end of the trip. At the beginning, I wasn’t smiling inside.

On Wednesday, April 24, 2002, I was met at the Maputo Airport in Mozambique, Africa by very friendly and helpful Iris Ministry personnel who helped me with my luggage, which consisted of two large suitcases and a full carry-on. (I had brought toys for the children and other items suggested by the ministry. The hospital where I worked had given me baby blankets, diapers and t-shirts for the infants at the orphanage).

After going to an ATM machine to get Mozambican money I was taken to the grocery store to buy food for the next week. We arrived at the Iris Ministry compound just as the sun was going down. I was introduced to several short term missionaries but found it difficult to concentrate. I felt like I was in a stupor. Their enthusiasm was exhausting. I just wanted to be alone.


Here’s the house where I stayed with other short-term missionaries.

I had help getting my luggage to my room in one of the cinder block buildings. There were three sets of bunk beds in the room, each overhung with mosquito netting (malaria is prevalent in Mozambique). The top light was bright and I was feeling like my ability to cope was coming to an end. “Perhaps I’m just tired,” I thought.

After claiming exhaustion, I went to bed around 9:30 pm, even though the light was still on and a crowd was gathered there. I pulled the covers over my head and shut the world out.

Here’s what I journaled the following morning:

“Woke up at 3:00 am. Feeling overwhelmed! I don’t know anyone here. Am totally out of my comfort zone. Feeling isolated and like I don’t fit in. I’m struggling with self-worth. I can’t stop crying (silently, because I have two roommates). Am using a flashlight to see well enough to read my Bible, devotional and write in my journal.

“The tears are just non-stop. Can’t believe I feel this broken. Keep thinking I just have to pull myself together but am powerless to snap out of it.”

Then, I wrote a prayer to Him:

“Overwhelmed at all there is to do here. What would You have me do, Lord?
“I have come under your direction, Lord. Help me to follow You. I love You.”

Let GoNext, I read Letter 27 of Fenelon’s book, Let Go as my devotional to help focus me. Here are the parts that really spoke to me, that seemed especially relevant:

“…This is a time of great confusion for you, and nothing seems to make any sense. You are imagining things which aren’t true at all. But this is the ordinary reaction to great suffering… Now I know you want to do the will of God and God will certainly be glorified, if you are faithful in yielding to His plans…

“…After you have settled down, make your decisions carefully, then begin to carry out the will of God as you see it. I know this time of distress has been hard on you, but begin now to get back to devotion and simplicity and selflessness. You talk with God, and let Him talk with you. Pay no attention to self…

“…The only way we can profit from His Counsel is to maintain a willingness to sacrifice anything for His sake, no matter how much it hurts self.”

While reading this and still crying, Isaiah 40:31 came into my mind:

“They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.”

After this time with the Lord, crying till dawn, I eventually got up when everyone else did and went to take a cold shower (the only kind of shower available to us) to get ready for the day.

Later that day, I wrote down the events of that morning:

“Went to infant center today. Twenty babies 1-2 years. Bathed and dressed them. Helped hold and feed them. Cleaned beds and changed linen – washed down doors with Clorox water, and hung clean wash out to dry.

“‘Lo, it is written in the volume of the book. I have come to do Thy will, O God.

“I love you, Lord. I need You. How can I help? What is it you want me to do? I desire to please you, my King, with all of my heart. Help me to serve You, O Lord, my God.

“Had welcome from Heidi Y. and Jennifer N. (hosts for Iris Ministries) with other short-term missionaries to discuss needs of ministry.

“Really wondering why I’m here. This is horrible…feeling awkward. Not knowing what to do. Want to be alone or with someone I know. Feel like 5th wheel – nothing new here. Break me out of this dilemma. Keep me from the ‘stay busy’ spirit. Everyone is frantic to stay busy – me included.

“Spend your life for God! Oh yeah.. How exactly do You want me to do this?

“Going to dump tomorrow (Heidi Baker is ministering to those who live there).”

Finally, at the end of the day, I wrote further:

“You are in control. Just got back from visiting clinic- no leading in this direction, but, You know my God. Too medical for me – I just can’t get into that [Note to reader: Though I was a career nurse, I didn’t go there just to do anything medical.]

“Help me, Lord! I need You! Hold me! I’m very insecure.

“First church service tonight. Children present. Holding and loving on them is easy. Much chaos, but sense again You are telling me to forget myself and minister to others. You are wanting to come here in me. Forgive me, I’m so selfish. I just want to find the way – show me Lord. I love you, Lord. Use me.

“I sense You are saying to me – Serve others. Be a servant to all.  ‘Forget yourself, lose sight of yourself, deny yourself.’

To be continued…


On Wednesday, April 24, 2002, while at Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on my way to Mozambique, I wrote in my journal to the Lord…

Well, well, well…all is well.
I’ve crossed the Atlantic. Now in Johannesburg awaiting the last leg of my trip to Mozambique.
You are faithful…no doubt about it. I love You!
Grace, Lord, give me much grace to go forward.

Then, continuing my time with the Lord, I slowly and prayerfully read Letter 26 from Francois Fenelon’s Let Go (Note: Since 1997, I’ve practiced what is called listening prayer, using spiritual reading like this as a springboard to quiet my mind and open myself up spiritually to hear from the Lord what He wants to share with me.)

Here’s what I read…


As I read this, these two verses came to me:

“The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.” Psalm 34:18 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

“…But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.” Isaiah 66:2b AMPC

Then, while reflecting on Fenelon’s letter and these verses, I wrote to Him…


Finally, while still sitting in that airport terminal, He responded…


Little did I know that I was heading into a four day storm.

To be continued…

On August 24, 2001, I attended a Christian conference in Durham, NC.


Mozambique, Africa

Randy Clark, one of the speakers, showed a video of Iris Ministries in Mozambique, Africa, founded by Roland and Heidi Baker. They had (and still have) an orphanage, caring for hundreds of children and are also actively evangelizing rural areas and church planting. People from all over the world travel there for short and long term missionary opportunities, helping with the work.

As I watched the video, I heard, I want you to go.” This surprised me, especially when He asked me to go alone, something far outside my comfort zone. And though I’d wanted to go to India and China for missionary work (being a long-time admirer of Mother Teresa’s work in India and Hudson Taylor’s work in China in the 1800s), I’d never had a leading to go to Africa.

When I returned home, I began applying for their short-term missionary program. I continued working on this for several weeks and then, getting busy with other things, dropped the ball.

On November 18, 2001, I went with a group of friends and family members to Winterville, NC where Heidi Baker was scheduled to speak. The service opened with worship music, and I heard, I really want you to go to Mozambique.” I had totally forgotten what He said in August and felt I’d let Him down. All I could do was kneel and weep.


Lauren and Joel with me in 2002

When I got home, I resumed the application process and on April 23, 2002 was on my way to Mozambique, Africa.

The following is from my journal written during that time:

Tuesday, April 23, 2002 (written while in an Atlanta terminal)
Going to Mozambique — left home with Joel and Lauren at 0500.
Joel cried on the way and at the airport. He cried for me. I have few tears. Joel is bearing my load. I thank him for his love and burden bearing.
Took off from Raleigh. After a short while, the pilot got on the intercom and announced we had just passed Greensboro, NC, and would pass over Spartanburg, SC, before arriving in Atlanta.
It’s no coincidence that You, my Love, sent me alone to both of those cities to prepare me for this trip and who knows what else…
I’m not lonely or stressed at all. I feel calm and at peace in your rest my Love.
Underneath are the everlasting arms.
Some South Africans are here in the waiting room with lovely accents.
I still can’t believe I’m here and going away with You. What an adventure!


Then, as was my custom, I would read from my devotional, which, at that time, was Let Go by Francois Fenelon (1651-1715):


Then, Matthew 16:24 came to mind:

“If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself (disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests) and take up his cross and follow Me (cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also).” (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

And, finally, I remembered a prayer of Mother Teresa:

“God use me; do whatever you want with me; send me anywhere you want, but do not consult me.”

To be continued.

Note to reader: This is the first of several blog entries to come in my Mozambique Story series.



On October 1, 2003, a friend of mine told me she saw me on a ladder suspended in the air, horizontal to the ground. It wasn’t vertical like a ladder should be. I was walking along it and she could only see the top of me as I changed from Sharon (that I perceive as being the natural me) to a sparrow with glasses on the end of it’s beak (being the spiritual me).

Then she saw a rope come down from heaven with a knot tied at the lower end.

On New Year’s Day 2005, Lauren (my daughter-in-law) came to my house after church, where she had a vision of me in the foyer.

She saw a ladder going into heaven. There was no end in sight. The lowest rungs were very close together and solid so you had to take baby steps in order to climb.

As the ladder continued higher, the rungs became farther apart, requiring larger steps to move from rung to rung. At the same time, however, the rungs became less sturdy as they thinned, until they were like dental floss and eventually disappeared.

Lauren didn’t know immediately who this was for, but when she entered my house and told me the vision, she said, “It’s for you.”

Three days later, a friend from work called me. As we were talking about the Lord she told me she kept seeing a ladder.

Coincidence? Not hardly.

What does the ladder mean? Well, it’s a picture of my connection with my Beloved. It’s not a literal movement upward because, of course, the Kingdom of God is not “up above” but IN us (see Luke 17:20-21).

This ladder is available to all as He calls us “higher” (nearer).

Secret of the StairsIn The Secret of the Stairs, Wade Taylor compares climbing stairs to our walk and growth in God. Each step, with it’s rise and tread, speaks of an ascension (rise) through revealed Truth by the Spirit and the walking out (thread) of that Truth in our daily lives. Of course, His working into our lives of these Truths can take years before we advance to another step, requiring patience. But as we “go up” our view changes of Him, of ourselves, of others and of life so that we see from His perspective, seated together with Him in heavenly places (see Ephesians 2:6).

However, as Lauren’s vision revealed, the time eventually comes when the rungs disappear, when we move beyond our natural understanding, including all our “good” religious thinking, and are reduced to simply trusting Him to take us higher.

A friend of mine, Lori T., called me on March 28, 2011, to relay a dream she had.

“…She [Lori] was at my house and I told her I was getting married… I was engaged.  I was going to be moving to Charlotte after getting married.

“The ring I showed her was silver and had a blue sapphire center stone with two rows of small diamonds around it in a wave pattern.

“She asked me how I met him and I told her I met him online at a dating service.

“My friend was surprised that I would look for someone online, but was happy for me.”

At first, I disregarded the dream, believing, at the time, that whatever prophetic insight one receives for someone else is actually for themselves. However, the next morning, I remembered that when I was eighteen I was given a silver, blue star-sapphire ring with a swirl pattern holding two diamonds. It was a gift to me from Rachel’s father.

I shared this dream with another friend who suggested I try to contact him. I blurted out, “Why would I do that?

That night I laid in bed for hours, unable to sleep. I kept seeing the image of my daughter Rachael looking away from me through a chain-linked fence in a dream I had a few years before (see God Story 1). I sensed she was concerned about her father and wanted him to be with her in heaven one day.

Frustrated over not being able to sleep with all this on my mind, I sat up in the bed and said to the Lord, “What is it!? What do You want!?”

The Lord said, “You owe him an apology.”

What? I owe him an apology?”

It was then that I remembered my last conversation with him shortly after delivering our still-born baby.

When I told him she had died from hydrocephalus, he told me he had the same disorder when he was born but had surgery to correct it. Angered by this, I said, “So you’re the reason my baby is dead!  It’s your fault! I don’t ever want to talk to you again!” and hung up.

Recalling this conversation jolted me as I realized how harsh and cold I’d been toward him.

God was right! (Surprise of surprises!) I owed him an apology.

As I’m writing this, I remember Ephesians 4:31-32, which says,

“Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.” (Living Bible Translation)

At this point, still fully awake at 3:00 in the morning, I went on Facebook to find him, unable to even remember what he looked like. I remembered his hometown and the name of the college he attended. His name was common, so I figured it would take some time. Amazingly, five screens later, I found him, sent him a message and the conversation began.

I asked him what he was doing in 1967-68.

The next day he replied, “I was in ET school around that time. Why do you ask?”

With a little research, I discovered ET school was Engineer Tech School in the Navy which is where he was serving when I met him.

I told him my maiden name (Engeldinger) and that I had lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at that time.

In reply, I said, “Some recent events have compelled me to write to apologize to you. You were not responsible for the baby’s death. It was no one’s fault. I blamed you and said many hurtful things to you. I can only say I am sorry for those cruel words. Please forgive me. Events that I have buried deeply away many years ago have surfaced for me to face and resolve. Now, I am free from the past and hopefully this will set you free as well. Rachael is buried at Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne, IN. There’s a stone on the grave. I guess my dad placed it there. It says, ‘Infant Girl Engeldinger 1968’. She was born August 22nd. – Pursuing peace, Sharon Engeldinger Killion”

He responded, “I cannot believe it…I have searched for you. I will respond after the shock wears off…a shock that I have bourne for the last 43 years…”

The next day he wrote, “I have searched and searched for you and you found me – go figure. Nothing that you said or did those years ago could have damaged the way I felt for you…for many years after…I still fondly recall our time together. To this day – I wish we could have worked through those issues that pulled us apart – I loved you and your family… I hope we can be friends. Love – Ed”

I replied: “It is so interesting how differently we recall the past. I felt so rejected and shamed that I buried all those memories and never looked back.”

Then he responded: “I don’t blame you. I knew that what I did was going to hurt several people, but I also thought it was the only thing to do at the time. I am sorry for that, deeply sorry.” [Note: He didn’t want to marry me and didn’t help financially when I went to the home for unwed mothers.]

My response: “I forgive you. I forgave you a long time ago.”

His reply: “Thank you. I still think about you from time to time. I probably always will.”

My response: “It’s strange seeing your picture on Facebook wearing your Navy uniform. I forgot what you looked like. I guess it’s funny what the mind does to cope. Last week a friend of mine had a dream about me with a blue sapphire and diamond ring. I had totally forgotten about the ring you gave me.”

His reply: “It was a Christmas gift – I flew back early to spend time with you before I had to go back to school at Great Lakes.” 

My response: “Wow! I guess you really did care about me.”

His reply: “I remember it like it was yesterday, not 43 years ago.”

Then I asked about his family and told him about mine. I asked if his children knew about their half-sister. I told him my sons were told about Rachel when they were preteens.

He responded: “I haven’t mentioned our baby to anyone in deference to you. I wasn’t about to cause you any additional harm.”

My reply: “I’m so glad that after all these years we have found peace. I don’t expect you to fully understand or even believe this, but I was led by God to find you and apologize to you. I’m amazed that I found you so easily and we were able to forgive the hurts of the past. You and your entire family will remain in my prayers. They are Rachel’s family and so, indirectly, will also be mine. I do not believe that it would be appropriate to continue communicating with you. You are married and I do not want to cause any trouble in your personal life…I pray that God will richly bless your entire family and keep you in His care. He truly loves you. He desires for there to be closure and now, it is complete. I’m filled with joy to know that Rachel is restored to her rightful place in your life. She has her Dad back.”

His reply: “If that’s what you choose – so be it, however, I can assure you that your continued friendship will cause no problems.”

After not responding, he defriended me on Facebook, out of respect for me I think, finally bringing closure to 43 years of unresolved pain.

Perhaps Rachel was now no longer looking away from me through that chain linked fence I saw that night, knowing her dad was finally healed.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14 New International Version

In April 2010, I was talking with my cousin Janet on the phone. She told me her oldest son, Matt, was going to college in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which was only 50 miles from where they lived. Confiding in Janet, I explained that Fort Wayne was where I went in 1968 to have my baby and where she was buried (see God Story #1). I told her I had never named the baby but had asked the Lord in 2001 what her name was. He said, “Rachel”, which means “little ewe lamb”.

About 10 days after my phone call with Janet, she called me and said, “You’ll never guess where we went last weekend.” After our last conversation, she had been thinking about Rachel and started searching to find where she was buried.

Looking online, she found Lindenwood Cemetery, one of the largest in Indiana, near Fort Wayne, and, typing in my maiden name, found that Rachel was buried in a small area reserved for babies called “Baby Land”.

She and her husband, Ken, drove there to find the grave. Janet was hesitant to tell me, saying she didn’t want to offend me. I assured her I was not offended but was overwhelmed with their love and kindness.

They went to the office at Lindenwood to inquire where the grave was. The woman behind the desk brought out a huge book and opened it. Janet noticed it was opened to page 715, and, as she looked, she saw my maiden name, third from the top. What were the chances?

img_7584After some searching, they found the grave. There was a grave stone with “INFANT GIRL ENGELDINGER 1968” on it and an etching of a lamb (Remember the meaning of Rachel?) on the left lower corner (see photo to the right). Behind the grave was a large statue of Jesus with a child in His arms (see photo below). They took pictures placing flowers and a red, white and blue whirligig on the site (also in the photo to the right), knowing how patriotic I am.

img_7583I was speechless! My mind was racing. I always believed the grave was unmarked and Rachel was forgotten. She hadn’t seemed real to me. I had locked her memory away somewhere.

I told Janet, “I’m being healed by what you’ve done. There is…”

She said, “closure.”

I said, “Yes… closure.”

Janet told me she was 11 years old when I had the baby. She was there the evening her mother, my Aunt Grace, received a call from our pastor who told her, “The party in Indiana has lost her baby.” [Note: The “party” was me, meant to keep my identity confidential since in those days situations like mine were rare and taboo.] My Aunt wept.

As a family we never talked about this tragedy. I thought no one cared. Unfortunately, my guilt and shame blinded me from really seeing clearly what was going on. My parents loved me. My aunt loved me. How young and foolish I was.

I never knew that special care had been taken for Rachel’s burial or at least I had no memory of it.  She was suddenly real.


My cousin Janet at Rachel’s graveside

I was so grateful for what Janet and her husband had done that day and told her it was the best gift I ever received.

I told Tyler, my youngest son, about all that had happened. He said he had always known there was more to the story. Growing up, he told me Rachel was always with us, that he sensed her with us, often asking me about her.

Now I had questions as to who put the stone on her grave. My little angel was not forgotten. She was loved and is loved. Jesus has had her in His arms all along.

Arriving in Wisconsin a few days later to visit my family, I asked my sister about the baby’s grave.  She told me the stone on Rachel’s grave was my Dad’s idea. He wanted her grave marked. I suddenly appreciated my parent’s loss as well as my own. I was too self absorbed in my own grief and suffering to see theirs.

Several years later I visited Rachel’s grave in Fort Wayne, Indiana with Tyler, my sister, Sue, and her husband, Bob. As we stood there that day I told Rachel how sorry I was that it had taken me so long to come. It was, in that moment, like someone turned the lights on in a dark corner of the house of my heart.

“You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.” Psalm 18:28, New Living Translation




Joel, Tyler and I went with a group of ten people from MorningStar University and traveled throughout Israel for ten days in a twenty seat van with a Messianic-Jewish tour guide, Eliezer, who gave us wonderful insight, connecting history with the Bible. (See our group picture below, along with a few others from our trip.)

As our plane was approaching Tel Aviv on Monday, December 28, 1998, I realized there was an old worship song I hadn’t heard in many years playing in my head. The tears gently flowed as I paid attention to these words:

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
In the city of our God,
In the mountain of His holiness.
Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north,
The city of the great King”.

While visiting Rachel’s tomb a few days later in Palestinian territory, we were prevented from continuing our tour as a funeral procession came down the middle of the road. With the coffin wide open, we saw that the deceased was an elderly man. Soldiers marched in cadence ahead of the crowd with two children leading the way.

That evening, at dinner, when we talked about this, we knew there was a reason we were privileged to witness this solemn event but had no insight as to it’s meaning.

The next morning, gathering together for breakfast, one of the leaders of the group shared what he felt the Lord spoke to him about the funeral procession: “The old man is dead.”

One thing about the Lord, when He tells you something it’s simple, yet powerful!

“…Our old man has been crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin.” Romans 6:6 DARBY

“For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in Christ. One day, Christ, the secret centre of our lives, will show himself openly, and you will all share in that magnificent denouement.” Colossians 3:3-4 J.B. Phillips

A day later, as we were traveling, our guide told us we would see Jerusalem just over the next hill. The Lord said to me, “I have so longed to show you this place.” With tears rolling down my cheeks, I looked over at Joel. He, too, was crying. The sun was just setting, the sky was a burst of color, surreal, as we crested the hill and saw the City of the Great King.

The next morning while walking with Eliezer, our guide, in Jerusalem, he began telling us about the time Peter denied Jesus and immediately we heard a cock crow. The timing was divine or so it seemed to all of us.

Later that same day, as Tyler was being baptized in the chilly Jordan River, a shaft of light broke through the clouds behind him and a bird, that looked like a King Fisher, swooped down through the light and into the water, emerging with a fish in it’s mouth.

Weeks before the trip, two of my co-workers at the hospital where I worked (a doctor and a nursing assistant) told me separately that a dove would come down as we were being baptized.

Of course, it was not a dove from heaven, but, I figured, a king fisher with a fish in his mouth made an incredible statement. Aren’t we all to be “fishers of men”?

Our last stop was at Caiaphas’ house. Tyler and I were standing on a large cement balcony overlooking the Kidron Valley. We could see the Garden of Gethsemane and Potter’s field out in the distance.

As we stood looking out, someone commented about activity below the balcony. We looked over and saw two men standing behind a cinder block house. One of them had a tethered lamb standing at the top of some stairs leading to the house below.

The other man had a knife hidden behind his back. He quickly brought it out and with a sawing motion, cut the lamb’s throat. Immediately, blood began pumping down the stairs as the lamb dropped where it stood.

Tyler moving back from the ledge, overcome by what he had witnessed, stooped down with his head bowed, and said, “This is too much.”

Shocked at the sight, I said, “What a picture of Jesus, ‘The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.’” (see Revelation 13:8)

Reflecting now on all we witnessed, I’m stunned by how much of it had to do with death and resurrection, from the funeral procession and water baptism, to the lamb slain.

There’s nothing like walking in the land where Jesus walked but it’s even better when He reveals Himself.


Israel’s welcome sign.


Our group


The Jordan River baptism site as shown in a tour guide I picked up.


Tyler being baptized in the River Jordan

On October 8, 2013, my daughter-in-law, Lauren, told me the Wilson Pregnancy Center (now called Choices Women’s Center) was looking for someone to fill their secretarial position. She had a strong intuition that I was needed to do this. Having retired from nursing almost two years before and enjoying my new-found freedom, I told her I wasn’t interested.

A day or so later, Lauren again mentioned the opening at the Center, believing the Lord wanted me to work there. I doubled-down with “I don’t want to”, not wanting to get involved.

The next day, as I was waking up, the Lord started talking to me about the position. He assured me that my work in OB-GYN for the last 28 of my 41 year nursing career gave me the tools I needed to help young women struggling with their pregnancies. He also took me back to 1968 and my own unplanned pregnancy with all the shame and emotional trauma that followed, persuading me that I could relate to the situations that might bring young women into the Center. In that moment, tangible grace from God dropped into my heart that neutralized my insecurities and convinced me that I had all I needed to meet the challenge. So, I decided to apply.

This reminds me of James 4:6, where, in the Amplified translation, grace is defined as the power of the Holy Spirit in us to help us overcome challenges, while II Corinthians 1:12, in the Amplified, says grace “strengthens” and “increases” us.

Later that morning, I called the Center and spoke to the Executive Director who invited me to come in. I filled out the application and had an hour and fifteen minute interview in which I shared my testimony, including how the Lord had touched my heart that morning.

I was sure I wouldn’t get the job, having had no secretarial experience.

Two weeks later, much to my surprise, I was hired, and began my new adventure on November 4, 2013.

I’m so glad Lauren persisted in encouraging me to apply and that God graced me beyond my tendency to allow my inferiorities to talk me out of His leading. As First Thessalonians 5:24 says…

“…The One who called you is completely dependable…” (The Message)

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