Wednesday, August 29, 2007


We had been on the missions field in Kenya, East Africa for almost three months and our shipment of household goods (which was supposed to have arrived the week after we first landed) still had not come. I called headquarters to find out what happened. "Sorry. The shipment got delayed because we tried to economize by changing your shipping plans." As a consequence of this delayed shipment my 50 year old wife and myself were sleeping on a four inch sponge on the floor of our apartment. We were cooking and keeping house out of my backpack. For two weeks, even for three......camping out is fun for me. I had had to call headquarters through a phone which actually worked sometimes, to find out that my funds were not sufficient to pay for the new car I had already taken possession of by virtue of my personal check! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!
That night I decided that I would get up the following morning and call headquarters to tell them to stop my shipment wherever it was. My intent was to go back home to the US. I said to Frances, as we lay down on the sponge to sleep, "Frances, I'm sorry for the horrible mess I've gotten you into. But in the morning, I am calling headquarters to tell them we are coming home!" Her response was, "Oh Fred, you know I wanted to be here just as much as you did."
I was boiling with anger inside. I knew that what I was feeling was not a fruit of the Spirit. So I prayed and asked God to help me. I whined, I cried, I complained, I tried to forgive ...... but then I would wake up mad. Why would they treat me like this? Why did they act like they needed me so urgently, but now were acting as if it was my fault that I had left for Kenya before adequate funds had actually built up from the itineration we had done in over 50 churches? It was an awful feeling. The lump in my throat, the load on my shoulder, the growl in my stomach all told me that my world had fallen apart.
During the wee hours of the next morning as I drifted in and out of sleep, I dreamed. In the dream I was on the platform in an African Church. A young girl, about 9 years old, dressed in a beautiful white pinafore dress which stood out around her knees, with her hair braided with two "dog-tails" attached, came out to me with a lei of flowers in her hands. As I bent over to allow her to put these flowers around my neck she kissed me on the cheek and said, "PUMZIKA!" [Pronounced poom-zee-kah, with emphasis on the middle syllable] at that moment I sensed that I was waking up - and that an unusual sensation of relaxation - beginning at the top of my head and coursing down and through my body all the way to my feet - was taking over my body and my spirit! Whew! Oh! I can almost feel it now - even as I type.
I shook Frances awake at 5:30 a.m. and said, "Frances, I don't know what this means. I just know that everything is o.k. and we are not going home. Every thing is alright!" PUMZIKA. Meaningless to me - except that I knew God was giving me peace over this situation. We had had no classes in language. Besides we were told there were 23 languages and 17 tribal dialects in the country.
Next morning, I was riding around with Jack Morris, outgoing missionary, as he oriented me to the location of some of our churches. I asked, " all of the 23 major languages and the additional dialects making forty languages in this country - have you ever heard anything like PUMZIKA?" I shall never forget his answer. He said, "Yes, Fred. That is a Kiswahili word, and it is in the simple imperative form, meaning simply, YOU REST!" Now I am not a sissy, but The tears coursed down my cheeks. It over-whelmed me that God showed me His compassionate and loving care for me with such a revelation in the language of the country to which we had been sent to minister.
That is why this cabin, this deer-hunter's shack, this spot which God recently helped me to acquire has a sign in front called PUMZIKA ACRES.


Lowell Brannen said...

Well, I just read your original version first and posted a comment, but I thought I'd post on this blog as well. I've heard you tell about PUMZIKA before, but I've never understood it like I do now.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Fred,
I have never heard this story. What a wonderful testimony of Gods all supreme favor. I cannot imagine what you must have felt. This story has brought me hope and a reassurance that as I pursue my goal of becoming a full-time minister that God will see it through. Thank you. TJ Oakley

K E Alexander said...

What a wonderful word from the Lord to you. But I have to say that my response to the Lord might have been "Rest...on what? 4 inch sponge?" This reminds me that God's words are often pointing to what will be instead of what is! It is a comfort to know there will be rest...even in the times it is difficult. And just His Word can bring peace. You still didn't have your supplies and were still on the 4 inch sponge but you had a promise of what would be! Hope makes not ashamed!!