Have I Been a Jonah?

I look forward to going where God sends me.

Joseline Chigogera lives in the East Africa Division, East Zimbabwe Conference, Harare, Zimbabwe. She has one child.

My husband goes to week-long evangelistic meet­'ngs where everyone camps together. Mothers, fathers, youth, and children spend this time going door-to-door, witnessing for Christ. This method of family witnessing is very effective. After the week of witnessing is over, a Sabbath School is established in the area.

As my husband was planning his next evangelistic trip, I felt the urge to go with him. Our child, who was seven months old, was old enough to go with us to the bush for a week. The day before departure, my husband asked me if I had made up my mind about whether I was go­ing to accompany him. I knew he wanted me to go so we could witness together. I told him I was still decid­ing and I would let him know the next day.

When I thought of a week in the bush with a seven­month-old child, I began having doubts about going on the trip. I ignored the urging that told me to go with my husband. I finally made up my mind and told my hus­band I had decided against the trip. I felt my time would be wasted because I would be taking care of our little one, and I was afraid there would not be enough water to properly wash her nappies. My husband was disap­pointed and tried to encourage me to change my mind. However, my mind was made up.

On the day of departure, one of our pastoral friends asked me whether I was going. I told him no. He asked if our baby was the reason I had decided not to accom­pany my husband. I explained to him my concerns about the water in the bush. He assured me that there was plenty of water. However, I had made up my mind and I decided it was too late to reverse my decision.

The moment my husband left, I felt a sense of un­ease. I began to feel I had done the wrong thing. I felt empty. Problems began. I went to visit a friend and was delayed at her house. Consequently, my sister-in-law, who was visiting our home for the first time, arrived only to find an empty house.

When I finally did get home, I discovered that the water supply had been cut off in the whole area be­cause a pipe had burst. I felt as if it was all my fault. I felt like Jonah who had caused the wild storm.

I was in a bad mood. My child had bitten me when I had tried to breast-feed her. In my anger, I pinched her, then cried at the hurt I caused her. Eventually she cried herself to sleep.

Around 5:15, one of our church members came by to help me transport a refrigerator to my house. I looked for my keys so I could lock the house, but I could not find them. I thought perhaps I had left them with my friend. I asked the church member if he would mind driving me to the hair salon where my friend worked. When we arrived at the salon, we were told the shop had closed early because there was no water. I felt bad for making the church member drive so far out of his way for nothing.

We decided to go get the refrigerator. Another disas­ter awaited us. The fridge was so big it would not fit into the pick-up truck. We had to return home with no fridge.

A soon as we got to our gate, I saw my friend. When I asked her if she had my keys, she shook her head no. I scoured the house trying to find the lost keys. I finally found them in one of my jacket pockets. I couldn't be­lieve I had forgotten I had put them there.

My day was not getting any better. I had nappies to wash and no water. I regretted not going to the meeting.

The next day I still had no water. I decided to spend my time witnessing. I went to have Bible study with a friend. She turned me away. She said she was too wor­ried about the water situation to take time to have Bible study. I was so discouraged. I knew if I had gone to the meeting I would have had ample opportunity to witness to others.

The mishaps during those two days made me feel as if I had run away from God's calling. I believed I was at Tarshish, not Ninevah where God wanted me to be. I thought of my feeble excuses for not going to the meet­ing with my husband. I knew I had refused God's urg­ing to do His will.

Like Jonah inside the tummy of a fish, I prayed for a second chance. I now know to take heed when I feel God's urging. I look forward to going where God sends me.