For those of you who began following this series of articles last September thru November, I apologize for the long hiatus. I have about 6-8 more segments to go, I think. Having lost my hard drive last week I’ve lost most of my notes that I’d made for this series. That may well be a blessing in disguise for the moment, however, as I’ve had to revisit my journals and our videos again to rekindle the memories – and what a sweet exercise that has been for me! For those desiring to find this entire series in one location, we will be posting a link in the menu by next week that will contain the entire file. Finally, note that this section entitled No Place To Lay My Head will itself be posted in 3 parts due to length.
No Place To Lay My Head (pt. 1)
On a journey that’s just as He planned…
Although the performance at the Kolin Foundation Secondary School in Arandis had gone extremely well, and our down time at the beach and on the sand dunes had been fantastic, our trip back to Dieter’s wasn’t without stress. Just before we left the coast our team visited an open-air market and one of the dancers, Jaclyn, lost a small pocketbook that contained her passport. Once again, I was proud of our team leaders and our trip veterans, as over the next hour or so in waiting for police to arrive, they made all the right moves. Literally within moments we had people at work on both sides of the ocean working on ‘next steps’, and more importantly, praying! A number of the local merchants were sympathetic to our situation, affording more relational opportunities. At days end, however, now several hours later than we had planned, we headed back to Dieter’s without the passport in hand.
Upon arriving back at Dieter’s the team seemed spent, physically and emotionally. A number of us stood in Dieter’s kitchen trying to decide what to do next. Dieter said, ‘We pray!’ And so we did. A couple of the dancers offered up sentences in the prayer time. In that moment our hearts were united in expectation that God could make a difference. I have to admit, while I knew full well He could, I don’t know that I was expecting He would.
Before we went to bed, Dieter informed me that he had arranged for the girls to dance very early the next morning at a local school. It would only be one song. I asked if Dieter could cancel it, as the team looked beat and I couldn’t see getting them up so early for one song.
I was up very early the next morning, and Dieter found me. “Tate’, I’ve been praying this morning. I made this commitment to the school here in Okahandja that dancers would come this morning. I told God that if our dancers cannot go, I will go and dance myself before I disappoint the students.” I couldn’t believe what Dieter was saying. I looked around and only one dancer - teacher and choreographer Sandi - was awake. Dieter continued, “As I prayed about it, I believe the Lord gave me an idea. Would you allow me to challenge Sandi this morning?” I had no idea what Dieter had in mind.
Watching from a distance I saw Dieter approach Sandi by the fire and place his hand on her shoulder, speaking to her face to face. The next thing I knew Sandi shot out of her chair headed for the dorm. Dieter turned and saw me, shot me a thumbs up, and gave one of his famous “Yesssss!” cries.
The next thing I knew, Sandi, now in one of the dancer’s outfits, and a very tired Diandre (I’m guessing the dancer who lent up her leotard in exchange for being the only dancer to actually come and witness this performance), and a very tired Germaine (cameras in hand) made their way to our vehicles. And just like that we were off.
On the way to the school Sandi went back and forth on what song to dance to, finally settling on the solo she had choreographed for Jaclyn – Nowhere To Lay My Head. Sandi gave one of the most beautiful dance performances I’ve ever seen. As I watched her dance I was tremendously moved, trying to hide my tears from Diandre and Germaine. I wasn’t sure if my emotions were a result of being over tired, still very concerned about the missing passport, or some combination of it all. Then I heard the line in the song that I began this passage with, ‘on a journey that’s just as He planned’ and remembered that this was Jaclyn’s song, and I really choked up. I prayed, “God, You are in control. You love Jaclyn. You know the situation with the passport. You will work it all out. None of this has surprised You.”
We got back to Dieters and many of the team members were still in bed. Those that were awake were stirred by the report that ‘Sandi was performing’. I began planning the next day or so of my own schedule that I imagined would involve finding the U.S. Consulate and faxing info back and forth with the States. Dieter advised that I should meet him up at his house and we would make one last call to the police station at the coast first.
I walked thru the door and Dieter was on hold for the shift commander. Busying myself by pulling Jaclyn’s information from our ‘critical files’ I waited. Then I heard it again, that all familiar “Yesssss!” The shift commander was holding Jaclyn’s passport in his hands.