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Reunion in Ibadan, by Sally

Posted on June 23rd, 2011.

It was a cold winter morning in Ohio; I sleepily crawled out of bed and headed to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee.  My husband, Joel, was asleep and Miki, our 5 year old daughter was tucked warmly in her bed.  Sitting in my comfortable living room chair, I heard myself say:  “Father, please give me a clearer understanding of how much you love me.”

Unexpectedly, a scene from my childhood flashed across my mind in vivid color.

I was eight years old and attending Hillcrest Boarding School in Nigeria, West Africa.  My family lived in another country, Dahomey, a thousand miles away and I was unable to see them for four months at a time.

I was born with a fierce determination, a strong will, along with thick, unruly red hair, all inherited from my daddy.  Often, I was in trouble for doing things that a high-spirited little girl, full of mischief does.  The headmaster’s spankings hurt and his wife took a strong dislike for me often making fun and belittling me in front of my classmates and teachers.

The long days ticked by that four month term and then it was time to go home for a month.  I was so excited that I could hardly sleep at night

The day before the Missionary Aviation Fellowship plane came to take me to Ibadan to meet my dad, I was called to the main office.  The headmaster’s wife took pleasure when she told me that I was going to the barbershop with all of the boys for a “haircut”.  My heart raced and I started to quiver inside with fear.

I resisted as the cruel lady jerked me by the arm and sat me down hard in the barber’s chair.  I watched with horror as the barber sheared my head with the exception of the top. The long hair left on top of my head was then braided and stacked so that I felt like a grotesque freak.  All I could think about was that the next day I would see my daddy for the first time in four months.  What would he think of me?

As we landed on the primitive red dirt runway, the plane slowly rolled to a standstill.  Stepping out of the plane into the blinding equatorial sunlight I squinted and suddenly there he was with his white helmet in hand and his “signature” red hair gleaming.

Running towards my daddy it seemed as if I had wings.  I leaped into his arms and as he swung me around he held me close and I heard him say “I love you Sally Jean”.  At last, I was safe in my daddy’s arms.

Twenty eight-years later my Abba Father answered my prayer that cold Ohio morning. My daddy didn’t care how I looked; all he saw was his little girl whom he loved with all of his heart.  Now, when I think about the love of God, I am reminded of how I ran into my daddy’s arms. I know that the God of the universe loves me and when I run to Him I feel the assurance of a forever and steadfast love.  He so loves you and me, that He let His beloved son, Jesus, die for each one of us so that we can know Him as a perfect Father and live with Him forever.

P.S. My mom home-schooled me for the remaining school term until we returned for furlough.

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