I never knew my great grandparents, or even my grandparents. So I never got to talk to them or ask them about this. I never talked to my dad about this subject.... but I did talk many times with my mom. She was so encouraging! I know that the same spirit that must have made Anna Toensing be willing to send her children off into the unknown for Jesus, was operating in my mom - Nona Etta Toensing Johnson! She listened over and over to my stories from the various mission trips I experienced. More than that, she asked me to share with her friends and her church. She told me that she could never have gone "out of her comfort zone" and experienced the things that I had. But she knew that there was a mission sending seed sown in her lineage. She had heard her father tell the history of his own family. She knew about her great aunt and uncle in Africa. I have been so blessed by my family tree. By those prayers prayed for the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters and even for me.
So here I am. With a place in my heart for Africa. More than that, I feel that I have a message to share. I don't know what is ahead in the next weeks and months. But I know that Jesus is leading and directing and bringing together all that needs to happen. And I am more convinced than ever that my life is on a path that was designed long before I was born. And that began with Johann and Anna Toensing!
Jesus, thank you for the reminder that you have everything under control. Even when it may seem really grey (or maybe even totally black) you have that path all laid out. Holy Spirit, help us to see our family tree with your eyes! And remind us to pray for all of those future branches and leaves that will be added in the years ahead. Amen