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A Little Bit
at a Time
By Donna Whiffen
Webster’s dictionary defines surrender as “the
action of yielding one’s person or giving up
the possession of something especially into
the power of another.” The dictionary goes
on to say that surrender implies a giving
up after a struggle to retain or resist. Wow!
I hear the word surrender and my memory
takes me back to a warm evening as I sat on
the rooftop of a house on a small farm in the
northwest corner of the island of Puerto Rico.

I had climbed up to the roof to get away for a
bit and do some thinking. I had been invited to
the island for my summer break from college to
help a friend and her family in their Christian
day school and church. I spent most of my
time cleaning, learning to cook, and trying to
have meaningful conversations with the family
with my limited high school Spanish. I missed
my family in South Carolina and I was feeling
lonely. My friend climbed up to the roof and
tried to keep me company, but she knew I was
going through something I had to settle with
the Lord.

That night settled it. I surrendered to full-
time missions and yielded my person and my
possessions into the power of Another. I guess
Mark & Donna
Whiffen and
family one could say I gave up after a struggle to retain
or resist.

Fast forward eight years. I had just landed in
Mexico City for the first time. My husband and
I were chaperoning high school seniors for what
we thought would be a life-changing trip for
many of them. What it ended up being was a life-
changing trip for us! Although we knew we were
going to Mexico City someday, those ten days
spent with loving missionaries and nationals
cemented in us the desire to make Mexico City
our new home. We surrendered again.

Three years later, we were on our way to Mexico
City with a two-year old in tow, a baby on the
way, and a Dodge Caravan pulling a much-
too-big trailer. We stopped at a Burger King
for lunch somewhere in Louisiana, and all I
could remember was that I was beginning to
doubt we were doing the right thing. I walked
outside and did laps (eight weeks pregnant)
around the Burger King, all the while crying and
saying, “Lord, if you do not want us to do this,
please stop us, now.” He did not, of course. So, I
surrendered again.

In the 18 years we have been in Mexico City, I
have had to surrender over and over. The night
I surrendered on a rooftop in Puerto Rico was
only the beginning. The surrender my husband
and I made in 1996 to start the long process to
get to Mexico City was also a beginning. That
surrender got us here, but daily surrenders keep
us here.

Each day I have to choose to surrender another
area of my life. A speaker once said that when
we talk about surrendering our lives to God, we
picture giving God $1,000 and saying, “Here is my
life, Lord, take it and use it for Your glory.” God
takes us to the bank and gets the $1,000 changed
into quarters. Then He asks us for 25 cents here,
50 cents there, etc., for the rest of our lives. We
just celebrated 18 years in Mexico City, but I have
found myself even more than ever conscious of
the need to give God those pieces of 25 cents and
50 cents He asks of me each day. W
Number 2, 2018