|The Promised Land|
Imagine old Moses looking down from Glory. Seeing the dream come true for his people: The Promised Land. While he labored for forty years in the wilderness, with that good land a shimmering mirage just out of reach, his successors sweep in with lightning speed amidst the crumbling walls of Jericho. There were those that said that it couldn't be done, that it would never happen, that perhaps they should just make peace with the life of tent-dwelling nomads. But after Moses was gone, the impossible happened.
Bittersweet? Maybe a little. But only a little. Mostly, I imagine for Moses it was a sweet moment to see what he'd labored for so long come to pass even if he wasn't there to lead the charge. After all this had always been God's journey anyway and Moses had felt blessed just to be along for the ride.
Back when Babs and I were dating, I wrote a poem for her called "My Girl Moses." At the time, she had volunteered to plan and organize the opening event of GO'97, a missions conference to begin on December 31, 1996 through the first days of 1997. The event had mushroomed into a massive undertaking involving a living Global Village featuring the buildings, cultural landmarks, food, and people of key mission fields around the world followed by a New Years Eve prayer service. The sheer volume of people, material, and details seemed reminiscent of Moses wrangling the nation of Israel as he led them out to the Promised Land. And so I wrote this poem as a tribute and encouragement to my girl. I was amazed by her fearless embrace of the impossible, by her ability to get everyone to work together, and most of all by her remarkable faith.
Recently, I've seen a glimpse of my girl Moses again. This time, though it's not as the leader of a multitude with her feat planted on the muddy bed of the Red Sea, staff raised aloft, but as the leader emeritus watching others rejoice as her dream comes true. Granted, wrangling two kids, trying to keep up the house, and teaching art a day and a half a week isn't quite the heavenly vantage point, but she's where God want's her to be. And that's enough for her.
|A much smaller ribbon cutting. Babs in her heyday, cuts the ribbon on the then-new playground at the old Saipan SDA School campus.|
God gave Babs the vision of a new school campus for the Saipan Seventh-day Adventist School, just as He had the principals before her. She believed in that Promised Land when few others did. And she felt certain that God would bring it to pass on her watch. So she was puzzled but accepting when God whispered to her that "you shall not go there, into the land, which I am giving. . ." She left Saipan with the dream unfulfilled. But it was God's dream all along and in His time He brought it to pass.
Just over a week ago under the Joshua leadership of current principal Sharon Nguyen and school board chair Dr. Ken Pierson, the Saipan SDA School moved into it's new campus, a beautiful piece of land centrally located, complete with fully-furnished buildings ready to go. It is an exceedingly good land and while it may not be flowing with milk and honey, it does have a very nice fully stocked science lab,a basketball court, and lots and lots of space: enough that at last, the Childhood Development Center and the Elementary School will be on one campus. Ironically, Babs had looked at plots of land on all sides of this property as potential sites for a new school. She'd never considered this particularly property (not least because another private school was already located there--she could never have guessed that they'd close up shop without warning and put the place on the market for a song).
|Science lab (photo courtesy of Crystal Pierson)|
|The basketball court. The Saipan SDA School won their last basketball championship on this very court way back in 2005. Only God could have known that one day we would own that court. (photo courtesy of Crystal Pierson)|
Babs was asked to send a short a video message to be shown at the opening ceremony and she did so. I know she wished she could have been there, even as a visitor, but like old Moses, it was for her to watch--and rejoice--from afar. And rejoice she did, because like Moses, she knew that Canaan was really a way station on the way to something even better. One day, by God's grace, she and Moses and the people God gave to each of them will all be together in a land promised to all who will do as they did: Let Him lead, all the way home.