Thursday, March 3, 2016

If you'd told us, back then . . .

Preparing to head off to Honduras, as construction missionaries,
in 2000
As many of you know, fifteen years ago, in 2001, our family left the United States, thinking we would be in Honduras for 2 - 3 years completing one construction project - and you have heard how that worked out! If anyone had told us, back then, that we would find ourselves still here in 2016, feeding 12,000 children regularly, we would likely have laughed! If they'd suggested we would build bridges of the sizes we have now built, and in the quantity we have done - well, I don't know that we would have considered that very likely, either. The idea that we'd be working with a huge network of pastors to spread the gospel to remote villages in unevangelized areas of the mountains of western Honduras would have seemed preposterous, too. God has taken our willingness to serve, and created something much larger than we had ever envisioned!

What you may not know is that Allen and I had intended to head to the mission field much earlier than we did. When we married, in 1984, we had a plan. Allen would enter the military and learn to fly, and when his military commitment was over we would sign on to do missionary aviation work. It was a very nice plan . . . it just didn't work out. Allen has some very minor physical deficiencies which precluded him from flying for the military, and after 8 weeks of officer training school, we made the decision together that he would not accept his commission.

That was a scary time for us, as we were newlyweds with all of our plans wrapped up in being in the military - job, housing, health care, etc. Suddenly we were newlyweds with nothing! We looked into the possibility of paying for private flight training, but we couldn't afford it. We couldn't really afford anything, just then, so Allen and I each got jobs. We saved up to buy a house near our work, within a few years the children started arriving . . . and we lost sight of our original goal of serving God as missionaries.

The phrase we use to describe that time in our lives is a phrase we hear frequently from other people: "Life got in the way." Usually, when people say this, they are speaking about something they had planned to do, but they never got around to doing it because of the demands of everyday life. At some point, "life" became just about getting through the day, or about "living the American dream."

We are so glad that God turned us around, after we'd been married for 16 years, and pointed us back in the direction of serving Him full-time as foreign missionaries. What amazing blessings we would have missed, if we hadn't listened to the still small voice, encouraging us to return to our original calling!

Are you letting life get in the way of what God wants you to do? It isn't necessarily something as all-encompassing as living for decades in a foreign country, but we've found that, when we put serving God first, the other parts of life fall into place, alongside the main goal. It isn't an either/or situation.

It's exciting to see what God can do with people who are willing to step out and do something crazy, just because He asked them to do it. I encourage you to not let life get in the way of the blessings He has in store for you.

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