My friend is doing a brave, adventuresome, challenging thing. She is becoming a missionary in the Congo on the African continent.
I am having trouble imagining what her life will be for the next two years. I go from visualizing a scene from Barbara Kingsolvers book "The Poisonwood Bible" to the news stories on the Congo in the Church News. I have observed her countenance change from a "deer in the headlights" look to a firm resolve to do all she can to be an asset in the mission field. Joy has some qualities that will aid her success in this new chapter of her life.
She grew up being a bit of a tomboy. That revelation came out one Sunday years ago as she gave me a ride home from Stake Conference. We were sitting in her car, at the ferry dock, hot from a good August heat. She told me she would really like to take her shoes off and go walk on the beach. We proceeded to do so and all the while she confessed to climbing trees and being a bit boyish as a girl. I loved that disclosure because it so rounded out her personality.
Joy has opinions that she will soundly defend. No wilber milk toast on the inside of this gracious woman. She may be quiet but she can be articulate about what she believes. I recall lots of stories of going to the homes of her special education kids and meeting parents who would not appear at school so that she could advise them about what their children needed to be successful at school. She did not know what she would find at the door but she had determination to be an advocate for her students.
She is a superb listener. Her kind and compassionate eyes have taken in the stories of my life and not only did I feel heard and understood but she remembered them and asked about the details later when we had moments to catch up. The saints of the Congo will find a woman who wants to know and feel the desires of their hearts.
I will miss her because there is something so grounded about her whole being. She comes from some hearty Canadian stock. Her grandmother, I believe, was a midwife in Canada, who delivered almost all the babies in the area. I read her life story and found the tale as good as any I have ever read. Joy will add on to a rich and colorful family history.
Lastly, she is taking a strong companion, who will be the Mission President there in Lumbambashi.
I can't wait to hear about their adventures all the way around the world.