We’re in a difficult economic situation. I’m sure that everyone realizes this, and I’m simply stating the obvious.
Around the country – and probably around the world – church organizations are filing for bankruptcy, cutting programs, firing staff. Why? Because less money is being given.
Apparently, even the SBC is susceptible to economic downturns. There are reports that the IMB (International Mission Board) will not have enough money to support the missionaries to want to travel overseas. While we could ask many questions about this situation, I prefer to focus on the positive.
A few months ago, some friends of ours – a young newlywed couple – asked the church to help them pray for an opportunity to spend the summer in Africa. They had an opportunity to help develop an alphabet for several tribes and languages for which there is currently no written language. The goal, of course, is to eventually translate the Scriptures into those new languages.
The problem: this trip would be very expensive for this couple. They could not afford it. So, they asked the church to pray with them. What was the prayer? Does God desire for them to go to Africa? This is what they asked the church to pray.
So, the church prayed for them and with them. We all sought God’s will for this situation. Eventually, they decided that they would travel to Africa. They began to make plans… in the middle of all of these economically trying times… to spend thousands of dollars to travel to Africa to help develop written language… thousands of dollars that they did not have and that they had no way to make themself.
Again, they made the decision to go, and they began preparing to go, and once again they asked the church to pray that God would provide for them. Margaret and I talked about helping them, and we gave them a little money to help, but much, much less than they needed.
Last week, just before they boarded their plane to Africa, our friends sent one last email to the church. Apparently, God had provided everything they needed for this trip as well as enough to cover their expenses here while they were away. God decided to provide this support primarily through our church – several thousand dollars through a group of less than fifty… mostly young people, many of whom are in college themselves.
To be honest, I don’t how it happened. Our little church could not and cannot provide this much money. But, it happened. Our friends are currently on their way to Africa.
I wonder what would have happened if our friends waited for the money to be in hand before they decided to go and began preparing to go? Perhaps, if nothing else, this little story can remind all of us that if God calls, we should go – wherever he calls – and trust him to provide.