Since 1985 I have learned to enjoy cross stitching. For the past eight years during my quiet evenings in Kenya, I would often read or cross stitch, two of my favorite hobbies. In my early years of stitching, I was content in doing simple patterns which I could complete in a short time.
We had been working in Kenya for twenty years and had moved to a new station. My husband was starting a new ministry and I was hoping to teach in the Bible School as I had done for seventeen years at the other station where we had lived. For some reason which is still not totally clear to us, the director of the Bible School would not allow me to teach. My husband was quite annoyed and I was hurt. We decided not to confront the director.
As the months passed and I did not have a ministry, I saw in a cross stitch pattern book the sample: “Bloom Where You Are Planted”. The words were surrounded with red flowers. I love flowers, enjoy flower gardening and flower arranging, so I decided to stitch up this small pattern. This was one of my cross stitch first projects. I hung it on my side of the bed so I could see it every morning. I felt that the Lord was telling me to do what was before me. So I began asking God to reveal to me what He wanted me to do in this new place. After some time I was approached about doing a type of ministry in which I did not feel very comfortable. But there was a real need and so I consented. I guess the Lord wanted to show me that He could use me out of my comfort zone.
Soon after this the Lord gave me a second ministry of teaching women’s Bible Studies in the local church we were attending. I thrived on this ministry and was able to develop some deep and lasting friendships with several African women.
After two years, a new Bible School director came to me and asked me to consider teaching in the Bible School. I was able to leave the first ministry and gave myself to teaching both in the Bible School and in the local church.
Now as we are packing up to retire after 36 years of ministry in Kenya, I came across this small cross stitch pattern: “Bloom Where You Are Planted”. It is yellow and dirty from age and I wonder if it is worth taking back to America. I probably won’t hang it in my new retirement home but it is memorabilia. I will be planted in a new continent, in a new place, in a new home, but I want to keep on blooming. After all, my name is Florence which means “to flower” or “to flourish”. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree…They will still bear fruit on old age; they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:12-14).
God has given to my husband and me an enjoyable and rewarding global working career. We would repeat the experience again. But there were a few times when I had to encourage my spirit with the statement: “The will of God will not lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.” I was always be grateful to God that I knew that we were following God’s will for our lives.
I hope to blossom in my new setting. Come and see my flowers.