See you Later; in Honor of my College Roommate as she Heads to West Africa

My freshman year of college, I walked into my dorm kind of nervous and afraid, but fortunately there was a kind girl named Lisa Voth that lived a couple doors down from me.  She was quirky, full of life, and welcoming and thus we became friends quickly.   The next year, we went to Israel through a program at our college and were roommates.  I was struggling in my classes because I did not know much of anything about the Old Testament coming into the program.  However, Lisa was very patient with me and time and time again explained about how the Israelites were led into exile, about the role of the prophets, and about the various kings that ruled.  I attribute me passing those classes to Lisa – she taught me so much. 

She would always talk about some guy named John Piper so I tried reading one of the books she recommended, but did not understand anything in it.  But she was still very patient with me as she excitedly talked about what she was learning.  Along with the complexities of John Piper, she also talked  about Bible translation and I was like, “Really, you’re going to do what?  You are crazy.”  She had a selfless discontent to remain in America when so much of the world was without the Scriptures.  And she could not keep this discontentment to herself; it just flowed out of her.  She perplexed me.
When we returned home from Israel, I was thinking about changing my major to Bible, to which Lisa commented, “Stacey, being a Bible major is like getting to each as much chocolate cake as you want!”  So, I changed my major and ate the “chocolate cake” of God’s Word and theology as she so affectionately referred to it.  Since graduating college and keeping in touch throughout the years, Lisa has been a friend who consistently spurs me on to good works.   Of course we are going to try to change the world, I mean what else is there to do?
And now, my friend is on a plane (or has recently landed) in West Africa to spend a year serving on the field with the possible intension of returning for career service.  This is the day she has talked about since I met her my freshman year of college and I cannot help but to thank the Lord for the impact that she has had on my life. 
And so, to my friend Lisa, know that even though you were not intending to change my life, the Lord has used you in so many ways to help me understand him more and to grow in my zeal for ministry.   I except him to continue using you on the field even in the midst of lots of unanswered questions, culture shock, and so on.  I leave you with a quote from our missions professor from Southern.  I asked him what was one piece of advice he’d have for us as we go overseas and he said:
“Get as close to Jesus as you can and stay there.  There is nothing that will come your way that will not be more tolerable, more manageable, if you are close to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Ministry often seems to be one distraction after another and even those who are intentional find themselves drifting away from their first love.  Keep Christ first.  Manifest and cultivate this in daily spiritual disciplines, repent quickly when you fall and learn to pursue sanctification. …Always strive to please Him first and most.”
So stay in the Word my friend and stay close to Jesus and I trust he will care well for your soul. 
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  John 15:4,5,7 

Author: Stacey Hare

Stacey is a servant of Jesus Christ as well as a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator. Right now she is working creating literacy materials so the Kwakum people can learn to read and write in their language. She is also working on translating Old Testament stories into Kwakum with her husband and local Kwakum colleagues.