Deputation? What is that? What do you really do? Our answer: “Hang on and enjoy the ride.” Every day is a new adventure. I think deputation requires its own adjective. Busy. Unpredictable. Precious. Long. Humbling. Self-revealing. A crazy blessing. Whatever else deputation is, it is PEOPLE.
Take, for instance, this past week. Friday found us in between meetings in Wisconsin. We spent the night in the home of a Christian widow. She and her husband were church planters. Now, she uses her home to bless missionaries and others who need a place to stay. (She would be one of those PEOPLE that deputation is about.) The next morning, we passed a herd of buffalo on our way out. We drove by the coasts of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. (Where else do you see buffalo and the beach within 5 miles of each other?) Spending the night in the home of David’s former youth pastor, now a pastor, we talked about ministry and how to reach PEOPLE for Christ. Sunday morning, David preached at that pastor’s church, and we told the PEOPLE about ministry in Portugal. Afterward, a potluck helped us know the PEOPLE better before driving to another city for our next meeting. Even the GPS couldn’t find the church that night, but a man in town told us he’d show us the street in exchange for a ride a few blocks down. He got us to the church, we got him to his destination, and in doing so, we got to share with another PERSON. The PEOPLE at church were sweet and interested. Afterward, a family took us to eat. Over hamburgers, we listened to their incredible testimonies of how God saved them. What an encouragement to see them now teaching their children about Jesus!
Late Sunday night, we returned to David’s youth pastor’s home. At 8:00 Monday, we were on the road, aiming for Louisville, KY, by 7:00 PM. We got there a half-hour early . . . until we realized they were on eastern time, and we were a half-hour late. (Oops!) We stayed with two college friends, and two others came for supper. It was a great time of hearing what God was doing in each PERSON spiritually.
Tuesday morning, we were heading to Tennessee. Sarah’s former youth pastor died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and Sarah was asked to interpret the funeral at 7:00. We hit the road at 8:45 AM, expecting to be there around 3:00. A few miles later, we coasted in to a gas station. No, we didn’t need gas; we needed a tow truck. (Timing belts sure make a difference, don’t they?) Oh well! Our car is visiting its mechanic friends in Kentucky the rest of the week. The rental car thought it had it easy with just two people. Then, it saw our stuff. (Have you been on the road for 2 months before?) David’s bag, Sarah’s bag, laundry, food, books, medicine, display board and box, computer, projector, file folders, tennis rackets, and gifts from churches . . . all transferred to the rental. (How do people do it with kids?) Anyway, our extra time was now down to zero. God let us get home at 6:15, change clothes, and be at the funeral on time. A car breaking down is nothing compared to losing a PERSON. The funeral was a great testimony to his love for the Lord and how he lived to reach other PEOPLE for Him.
Wednesday was a catch-up day: laundry, calling churches, banking, paperwork, and going through mail from the past 60 days. That night, David preached the service at a shelter for homeless PEOPLE.
Today is Thursday. On our agenda: phone calls, letters, and e-mail to dozens of PEOPLE. David is studying theology books in preparation for his upcoming ordination. Sarah is reading about women’s ministry and going through Portuguese flash cards. We are praying for our newly-made friends in churches across America, and we’re glad they are praying for us. We look for ways to reach PEOPLE right here (even a tract to a cashier). And, we are asking God to use us each and every day to reach what is most important. (FYI: It’s PEOPLE.)
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