Aug 12, 2011

Flashback Friday: Missionary Remembers War that Sent Her Home

"I woke up at 6:30.  Jeff was staring down at me, 'I need to tell you something,' he said. 'We're under attack, there was been a coup.'  I had slept through the whole thing due to tremendous jet lag.  The rebel forces had taken the city during the night, Lauren woke up and saw the tracers, she thought it was volcanic activity.  She was only in 6th grade.  Jeff prayed under his breath 'Oh, Lord, not again.'  Civil War hit the Ivory Coast and the rebels had taken 3 strategic cities, one of which we were sleeping in overnight and one of the others was the city where our home and ministry was in.  Within 7 days Abidjan was back in control of the government and it took 3 more days before we could safely to out of our room and buy tickets for our trip back to the states."

I recently caught up with missionary and author, Kim L. Abernethy in Charlotte, NC, the home of her new ministry – CBFI (Campus Bible Fellowship International) at UNCC.   We discussed this story and more that will be shared in her second book, In Every Place......

We discussed the testimonies she's heard from the publication of her first book, In This Place, the reasons she had for writing the books, and a whole lot about life.  Sit back in the next few weeks and read as I share Kim's life and faith with you in a series of blog posts.

Over coffee, Kim shared with me about the seven days they were trapped unexpectedly in a motel room in Africa .   Jeff had just retrieved his wife Kim from the airport, she had just returned from putting their oldest child in Liberty University in the states. 7 days they were sequestered in that motel room.

“It was dangerous at first,” Kim continued.  “We went without a lot of food those days.  Our two daughters, 15 and 11, went out with their father for food.  They had to walk out and look for a kiosk that would have food, finding only cabbage, corned beef, rice, bouillion cube and avocado.  We made do with that for 2-3 days.  Groups of very angry rebels were walking the streets with machetes, very angry with the French and they didn't care whether we were French or American; we just had to stay out of their way."
I was stunned at the imagery of her daughters waking to tracers in the dark of night, Kim's husband perhaps holding them in a hiding place, discussing the flaming lights that were not a result of volcanic action.  Kim, sleeping soundly on the bed after the most heart-wrenching ordeals of her life -- leaving her firstborn in college thousands of miles away and in the past year her father had major surgery and her brother passed away.  Kim could be with them only temporarily, remaining thousands of miles away during their time of grief.

Yet, she slept.  I choked back tears as Kim told me this part of her story.  Tears over a loving God who graciously provided rest to a faithful, weary heart.  A heart that, perhaps, could not have withstood the pain of what was ahead.  Rest and peace for the weary and heartbroken.  Yes, that was the God I knew.   The words of David came to my mind from Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

I sent Kim for coffee refills while I dabbed my eyes and hid my tears. The tale of the loss of her brother and the war breaking out around them nearly did me in, but the living example of Psalm 91:1?  The image was overwhelming.

Read this story and more in the second part of Kim's autobiography coming out in January, 2012, In Every Place.  Find out more on Kim's blog In Every Place.

I received nothing in exchange for any of my reviews of Kim's books.  Her stories were brought to my attention by my nephew who attends her Charlotte UNCC ministry.


mom said...

Looking forward to these blogs AND her next book! We love that family so much and what servents they are. So glad you got up with her Val and can't wait to read the next blog.

Kim said...

Could you just blow up the Starbucks sign in the pic and take that woman out of it? Okay? Thanks. Seriously, nice job. Exactly the way it was. You are a blessing!