Psalm 23 has been very important in Abigail Snyder’s life lately.
The Lord is my Shepherd … He leads me.
Abigail says that, during the last few days before her departure for Tanzania, her own insufficiency, helplessness and utter dependence on Christ were in evidence to her with “the brilliance of a glaring neon sign.”
And as she made the final preparations to leave the familiar life at home, questions seemed to define her days.
Are you packed? Did you forget anything? What will living in Tanzania be like? How well will you be able to keep in touch? Can you actually learn enough Swahili to communicate? What will you miss the most?
In the last 12 hours before her departure, “I stuttered and choked, quietly smothering the insecurity that threatened to take me captive,” Abigail writes. Like the sheep in Psalm 23, she realized in new layers that she was “completely dependent on the Shepherd.”
As she boarded her departing flight, she reminded herself, “The Shepherd provides. … He goes before me.” And like the psalmist in Psalm 23, in her apprehensions, she praised Him “for His great grace.”
Abigail is now safely in Tanzania. All of her flights went smoothly. Her many bags and bicycle made the trip without incident. “Customs was a breeze,” she adds.
But there were plenty of emotional moments, she admits. “Getting harassed by security … sitting awake and feeling very alone somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night, sobbing silently while thinking of home…”
And there in the air, Abigail was struck with powerful promises from another psalm, Psalm 121: My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth … He will not allow your foot to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber … The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand … He shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth and even forevermore.
Abigail first became interested in teaching the children of missionaries when a friend who had grown up in West Africa encouraged her to consider the idea. She subsequently attended NTM Interface, finished college and when God opened up the opportunity for her to become an NTM associate and teach at a school for missionary children in Tanzania, He arranged the details and Abigail now finds herself actually there.
She has continued to be encouraged in the first few days after her arrival to remember the same promises from the Psalms that lifted her heart during the days of preparation and departure. She knows that God has orchestrated this ministry opportunity.
“He is the Lord Who goes before me,” Abigail says. “I find courage in remembering that.”