God really blessed us this weekend as we spoke at a church up north, near Bellingham. We were especially excited to speak to the youth group on Saturday evening, and God even provided babysitters for us – friends who had moved from Bellevue to just a couple minutes away from the church where we were speaking. It was lovely to be able to focus on the teens and know that our kids were safe and happy. We received a warm welcome on Sunday and Chris preached a moving sermon. It was one I’d heard before (missionary problems), but I felt like he was preaching right to me!
Our hosts were angels. They fed us delicious food, gave us a warm bedroom (separate from our kids!) and a comfortable bed, and offered support to us the whole weekend. We introduced this couple to Susanna and Ms. Penny and Mr. Jerry, but by the end of the weekend Susanna was sitting on Penny’s lap and calling her Grandma.
Although the pastor was out of town, there were some familiar faces – kids and parents who had been at Family Camp with us – and that added to our comfort in this unfamiliar church.
During our Sunday School presentation, which covers Spain and our ministry there, we talked a lot about building relationships and how we’ll meet people and share the Gospel with them. We have a slide with some photos of our interests – a camera and some shots of party printables I’ve designed for me, and small aircraft and motorcycles (a sort of new interest) for Chris. As we share some of our interests, we pray that God would show people how He can use their own passions to reach people with the Gospel. We try to convey, “if you find someone with whom you share a passion, you’ll quickly reach a point in your relationship where you can move past small talk and speak about important things. Share their enthusiasm for a hobby or interest, and ask God to give you opportunities to talk about the One Who is passionate about them.”
And that’s the way that God blessed us most. I felt known in that church.
Our host, Jerry, is a pilot with a small aircraft and he is looking forward to taking airplane-obsessed Chris up next time we’re in town.
They have a little granddaughter about Susanna’s age, and a whole closet full of toys that entertained our kids for hours.
A man came up to Chris after our presentation and said, “you like motorcycles? I have a collection.”
A group of guys laughed more than politely at Chris’s jokes about how much teenagers eat and how we answer the common question, “are you going to run with the bulls?” (Emphatic NO. But we might watch if you come visit).
A woman thanked me for sharing my testimony and we prayed for her granddaughter who might be coming to live with them. Those sacrificial grandparents come out of the woodwork everywhere I go, it seems. She asked my dad’s name and I know she’ll pray for him.
I sat and listened to a special needs gal ruminate on her name… Susan Margaret.
How does this relate to preparing for the mission field? I have great confidence because we are prayed for by people who know us, to a God who knows us intimately. None of us is anonymous in the kingdom of God.