Curses, Foiled Again!

by Ruth Wilson

Being a missionary kid, growing up in a semi-remote mission compound, it was really hard for me to figure out a good way to rebel. We lived about 40 miles from Nairobi, Kenya, on a station with close to 100 missionaries. Talk about your cloistered environment!

That's not to say I handled my teen years graciously. Outwardly, I was extremely compliant and very helpful-just ask my mother. But inside I was a seething cauldron of rebellion and resentment.

So, when I graduated from Rift Valley Academy at age 18 and was on my way to college in America, I really thought my chance had arrived. I would be in an entirely different culture, an entirely different country, halfway around the world from my parents, and where nobody knew my name! Oh, I could almost taste the freedom.

When I got to college, I decided no one was going to know I was a Christian, much less a missionary kid. I was going to change my name (Ruth was, to my mind, way too religious a name). I would do all the things I wasn't supposed to do. And there would be nobody who could tell me different. So there.

Of course, there was the little matter of a profession of faith I had made as a child, but I figured God wouldn't really care if I sowed a few wild oats. I could always just claim I was backslidden, and confess it all later or something like that.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out quite the way I expected.

It started on the airplane on my way to Atlanta. As we were flying along above the clouds, I could see the shadow of the plane on the cloud-tops. The shadow was completely surrounded by a perfect circle of a rainbow. The pilot come on the loudspeaker and explained that it was a fairly uncommon phenomenon called a Pilot's Halo.

Immediately I was reminded of Deuteronomy 33:27: "The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms."  Only in this case it seemed more like "surrounding you are the everlasting arms." I also got the firm assurance from the Lord that no matter how much I rebelled, no matter how far I strayed, He would be with me, and waiting for me to get back on track.

Now, I've got to tell you, that is a really difficult thing to overcome when you're planning an all-out rebellion. But I was determined that it was now or never

So I get to school. First day of class-so far so good. My cover's still intact. I've had to admit to being from overseas (the culture was just way, way too different, and most think I have a very British accent!), but that's okay. Lots of kids have lived overseas. 

Unfortunately, on the staff of my school were two former nuns-who had served in Africa for many years. They were extremely excited that there was going to be a missionary kid from Africa at the school-and made me stand up while they explained to everyone that I was FROM AFRICA-but worse than that, that I was a MISSIONARY KID! Oh crum!!!!!!!!! Immediately the Christian Student Nurse's Association wanted to sign me up! So much for my anonymity.

Second class: The teacher firmly explained to us that she didn't care what we were used to being called, she didn't care what we wanted to be called. We were all going to be called by our legal first name. So there. So much for my name change.

Before the day is over, we are all made to sign a pledge that we would not smoke or drink, either on or off campus, while we were enrolled as students in the program.

Furthermore, we had a 7:00 curfew-except on Friday and Saturday nights, when it was extended to 9:00.

Oh, and did I mention that my roommate was a lesbian? She moved out the second day and moved in with a like-minded fellow student. (Hm. Maybe having people know I was an MK was a good thing after all.)

And then there was the matter of the race riots. I was in downtown Atlanta in the early 70s. From everything I had heard on the news [BBC, Voice of Africa] or read in Time magazine (that we had to read and have a test on every week for Civics class), people were just indiscriminately shooting each other on the streets of Atlanta all the time. Do you think I was going to go walking downtown by myself? I don't think so! Give me a good lion in the path any day. That I could handle.

Anyway, that's the story of my rebellion-or at least how it was foiled during my first weeks in America. I still managed to eke out a few small incidents here and there, but maybe that should be another story.

Perhaps I should have remembered that little verse in Proverbs-something about man making plans, but God directing the steps (16:9).

Editor's note: At the request of Pulpit Helps for a update, Ruth adds this postscript:

"The worst of my rebellion' had died of natural causes by the time I got out of college. As proof of that, I've been worked fulltime for Christian organizations since 1978. Currently, I am the development assistant at AMG International, and my immediate boss, Bob Gerow, is also an MK, so we do keep the place in an uproar!

"I've also been very involved with my church, including teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, and playing the keyboard for our praise team."

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