We often hear from folks that their work is very difficult and they don’t have time to go to the church and learn more. If we visit them every few weeks with a new card and scripture, we can bring the learning to them, ensuring that they hear the gospel proclaimed. Who knows what the Lord may do with those few loaves being offered?
Given the circumstances, it would be easy for us to conclude the task here is just too big, or even impossible. We should “shake the dust from our sandals” and move on. But then I think about Nicodemus and how he couldn’t understand what it meant to be born again in the Spirit. And so, Jesus talked to him about the wind.
I worried often about Maggie, if she was getting sicker, if she had food, and if she was healthy enough to take care of herself and Tika. As time went on, my worry turned to fear. It was my worst fear that I would find out she died; that one of the diseases she battled finally won. I was afraid of her leaving behind her young daughter.
Only five months after our family’s arrival at our new post, we found ourselves in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, locked away from those we were sent to serve. Jesus, being who He is, still led us to the poorest of the poor. He opened so many closed doors—both literally and figuratively—for new ministries to flourish, despite the repercussions of the virus.
It is not only in Baños—or any foreign city—that God calls people to holy encounters. There are amigos in the Holy Spirit awaiting us wherever we are. As we approach the great celebration of Pentecost, let us ask the Holy Spirit if there is someone one our path He might be calling us to befriend this week. Who might be needing a word of encouragement and prayers, or just someone to remind them that they are seen?
My nineteen-year-old son called me from his mission in Peru a couple of weeks ago. He was sick in bed and groaning occasionally with discomfort as he talked cheerfully about his work. I couldn’t reach him through the mail, couldn’t reasonably fly to see him. I wanted to teleport there and cook him soup, bring him to the doctor, hold him and pray over him. I wanted so badly to comfort him.
All my thoughts culminated in me screaming at God, “Why do you let this happen? Especially to those who love you! Do you even exist? If you do, YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!” Then I heard it. The whisper of the Lord. And he said, “I did do something…I sent YOU!” Even as I write those words, my heart stirs in a way that it never did before, in all my years of missions. I prayed for God to comfort these people, to help them move forward after tragedy, to have food to eat, that they will not feel alone, that their needs can be met.
At Easter we are reminded that resurrection is possible everyday. Everyday we fail. I argue with my wife or am yelling at my children. And I’m like, “Lord, why do I constantly fail under these patterns of sin?” He’s there to encourage us and pick us up, to give us that second, third, fourth, fifth, or five-hundredth chance that we need.