Ten years ago today, we said our goodbyes and boarded a plane to Portugal. We stand amazed at God’s goodness in our lives this past decade. As we flip through pictures and reflect, it all seems like a “blessed blur.”
As the years go by, there are seasons and rhythms of life and ministry. Times of plodding and waiting give way to flurries of activity and spurts of growth. Months of frustrations and lack of productivity are sometimes followed by great breakthroughs. Through it all, we must keep trusting the Lord. The eternal importance of what we are doing cannot always be measured by completed projects and finished to-do lists. People and pandemics can upend our best laid plans. While we all want to get back to “normal life,” God is in control, and He is teaching us to be sensitive to His leading. Here are just a few examples of this.
A lady in our church runs a daycare in her home. Every day this summer, she takes care of 12-16 kids (and you thought you had a busy summer). When I asked her about doing a weekly Bible club with her kids, she agreed right away. Now, every week, she gathers them all in her backyard, and I get to come and teach them songs, share Bible stories, play games, and tell them that Jesus loves them. Were this a “normal” summer, I would have been too busy to be with these kids. Thankfully, God’s plans are not mine. Pray that as I unfold the gospel before them that many of them would understand and be saved.
The circumstances this year have forced us to become part time videographers. For each deaf service, we record a Bible reading and sermon, plus we often add special music, a testimony, or a drama. This past week, we were recording in our back yard. Our house is separated from our neighbors with a half-wall, which has afforded us many talks with them as we hang out laundry, water our plants, etc. On this day, Sarah was dressed “normally” as a modern-day person, but I was dressed up as Jesus. We had set up the camera, hit “record”, and just started signing the scene when two people peeked over the fence from the neighbor’s yard. We kept the scene going, and the neighbors just stared at us moving our hands around at each other with David dressed in a tunic. They must have wondered what in the world was going on! So, who knows? Maybe that slightly embarrassing situation will open a chance to explain what we were doing and how they can know Jesus as their Savior, too.
As God would have it, I had a divinely appointed interruption even while writing this letter. I am working at church today, and just as I finished the paragraph above, I got a phone call from a telemarketer. I had to step outside, because I don’t have good reception inside our building. After trading pleasantries for a minute, we concluded our call. But at just that moment, an elderly lady who lives in one of the apartments above our building motioned for me to come over and talk with her. I honestly thought that she was going to complain about the noise we make. But as I approached, her voice quivered and there were tears in her eyes. “Could you give me something to read about God? I just don’t know what to do…” She briefly shared with me about her cancer, her sick husband, and people who have hurt her in the past. I listened, pointed her to God and His Word, and gave her a Bible and some other materials to read. It was a sobering reminder of how we are surrounded by lost and despairing people (even people who live directly above our church building and hear us singing every Sunday). Would you pray for this lady, Fátima, that she would be saved and find in Jesus all the hope her broken heart needs.
Thank you for being our partners in ministry for the past ten years. We look forward to seeing what the future will hold knowing that God is good and is in control. May God fill you with His joy today.