There I sat with my hairbrush in hand surrounded by women I did not know.  We were all attending a pastors’ wives retreat.  Most of the ladies had know each other for years.  I knew maybe three.  As a ‘get to know’ game, Bridget our fearless leader, had told us to pull from our purse the most important item we had and then explain its worth to the ladies in our circle.  Since I had just switched purses I knew my choices were limited.  What would I pick?  The wallet was too obvious, the phone was already on the table.  All that was left was my hairbrush. So I grabbed it.  I sat there feeling stupid.  Really, Tammy?  Your hairbrush is your most important item?  I was insecure in my choice.  I looked again.  What else do I have?  Fudge money? No, I dismissed the idea and continue to cling to the thing in my hand.   What on earth am I gonna says?

As I meditated on it a divine revelation took form in my mind.  My brush was actually much more than a tool to manage my messy mane.  It represented something profound.  One by one each lady shared their prize possession and its importance.  Then my turn came.  “My hairbrush reminds me to be grateful for hair.”  I smiled and shoved the brush back in my purse without further explanation.   Next!

With the “get to know” exercise over the formate changed.  It was time for each of the missionaries to speak.  The first woman to the mic was a veteran missionary from Africa.  She was funny and well known by the group.  They laughed at all her jokes.  I prayed I wouldn’t follow her.   She went on a bit too long and I promised not to do the same.  After she sat down missionary number two was called up. I watched her as she stood and moved forward.  There was something not quite right about her.  She appeared weary and fragile and her hair shifted.  Her story confirmed my suspicions.  She was in a battle for her life.  She had cancer.  God began to speak to me and the dots connected.  My hairbrush drama was not for me at all.  It was for her.  She spoke for a few minutes and took her seat.  And as God had planned all along I was called not to follow funny missionary number one, but weary suffering missionary number two.  I grabbed my hairbrush and walked to the front.

There was a hush that came over the room as I began to explain the prop in my hand and its value.  I told the group of my personal struggle at the table just minutes before as I tried to wrap my brain around the choice and its meaning.  I shared that I too, during our first term on the field had had a battle with cancer.  The atmosphere in the room changed.  You could feel the Holy Spirit.   With God boldness I walked to her and proclaimed her healing.  Then I gave her my hairbrush complete with stands of hair as a reminder, “God is my healer.”  After a prayer of faith she sat back down with tears in her eyes. God had met her.

And I personally will never look at a hairbrush the same again.  Will you?



EXIT STAGE RIGHT, The Shift part 3

THE SHIFT part 3

The hardest part of leaving is leaving.  First comes the announcement followed by the explanation.  Some people will understand others not so much.  Our situation was pretty normal.  We had those who where shocked and others who already knew.  Probably the worst moment was the day I told a patient of mine.   She broke down and cried for at least ten minutes.  All she could say was “I can’t believe you are leaving.”   I felt like a heel.


Zoila and me

Slowly the news spread and everyone wrapped their brain around the shift.  March 13 was our last Sunday.  In the am service we said good-bye to the church. They gave us a plaque.


That evening we said good-bye to our missionary family.  They gave us a Shutterfly memory book.  And a few tears where shed.  Mostly by me.


We had our last dinner in El Salvador with our dear friends, the Williams Monday night.

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 8.21.26 AMTuesday we dragged all our luggage to the airport.  It was emotional, but we knew we were on the path God had intended all along. Everything was in place.  God had given us a fully furnished apartment to live in and a car to drive.  Our calendar was nearly full of churches eager to hear our story.  We were sailing under open heavens.

Here I sit in our little bungalow typing this memory with my gaze toward the future.  I have a buzz in my gut that screams destiny. That’s what we know awaits us in Ecuador, our destiny.  The Quichua number 665,000 lost souls.  Lost not because they don’t believe, but because they have never heard.  It’s too much to ignore.  So here we are working like crazy to raise the funds we need to make the transition and be in Otavalo by September.


Until all hear,