This magazine has a great name; GO. Three years ago, we went. But for many of you, you have not gone; you have stayed to be used by God in Australia. For you who have stayed – but still care about us who have gone – it is to you who I dedicate this letter!
When we were asked to write an article for Go, I was excited. I like to write. When I was told it was on prayer….that made me think twice. That’s because, well…. I’m really not such a great pray-er. As many Mums of young children might identify, I sit down to pray and within a few minutes of quiet I’m either fast asleep or back on my feet dealing with the latest toddler emergency.
I’m really a little embarrassed to admit it of course, because aren’t most “Missionaries” (except me and my husband) pretty perfect? Hmmm. Anyhow, here’s where you come in. Though I strive for a better prayer life, and hope for a great intercessory future, right now, I am a better dish-wiper than intercessor. Yet, we are blessed to have a God who knows our weaknesses and I am eternally grateful for those of you who are faithful intercessors on our behalf.
I know that God hears your prayers for us. I hope you have also seen the evidence of this, and been encouraged, as you read our newsletters, and hear the stories which prove His, and your, faithfulness.
A perfect example was when we needed $10,000 to save the School (for the poor) that we serve at: we asked and you prayed. Two years in a row, at the last minute, we saw God answer these prayers in miraculous ways. Like some of our mission heroes, we now have evidence of God’s providence when we were handed a $10,000 check from an individual we didn’t know, just days before the cut-off. This has not just happened once, but several times. So in the last few years, not only has our ministry been able to continue, but our faith has also grown, through these (character building) waits for God’s answers!
Similarly, when the nation we serve in had some violent and unsettled months, we had to make some tough decisions. Should we stay? Should we go? Would we be safe here? What was God’s will for us at that time? Through those especially scary months, we needed your prayers more than ever. And even when the internet was out for a long while, we knew that you were watching the news and praying for our family. And when it came time to make decisions, God clearly led us into deciding to stay in that nation, despite the uncertainty. But if I had not known that back in Australia there were people committed to praying for us, and upholding us daily, I’m not sure that we would have made the same decision.
There are the simpler things you have prayed for – that don’t make such exciting stories – but are just as important. When you asked on our behalf, for a home for us on home assignment, God answered your prayer. Sometimes I wish God would not wait until it is down to the wire for things, but by now, we are getting much better at trusting in God’s provision! We also saw the provision of a car from a stranger, who happened to email the State Office at the right time, with the right car, and a generous heart – after you prayed. Thanks!
Similarly, we have been aware and humbled that people have been praying for us continually in everyday things, like our walks with God, for our kids settling in a foreign country, and especially for our health and safety. We are happy to share we have not got many exciting stories in that area – a divine answer again.
Individually, some may say these things could be lucky coincidences. They just happened to work out in our favour. But when we look back, over three years, and see the continuous blessing, provision and protection of God on our lives and ministry, we hope you see this cannot be true. There have been countless examples of our family being protected – through death threats at work, in the traffic, and in day-to-day life of emotional strain. As you uphold us in consistent prayer these potentially critical situations have been diffused.
In one situation we were aware that a gang of armed youths were active in our city, and had threatened to come and visit the school. They had attacked churches and other schools, damaging property extensively and slashing and attacking a number of young people indiscriminately, sending six seriously injured youths to hospital. We asked you to pray protection over each child, teacher and the premises. A prayer team from the UK specifically prayer walked the area two weeks before the time of the incident.
The gang did come to the school just before students were released one evening. When they came, my husband came out to confront them, dressed in a suit and dress shoes, and without a weapon of any kind. Yet, when they saw him, the entire gang ran from him, so he chased them into the next suburb, where they dispersed into the market. The school students were able to be dismissed safely, and the gang hasn’t returned yet. Why would the gang not do the same thing here as they had done throughout the city in the weeks previous? Why would they fear a slightly crazy foreigner chasing them? My only credible explanation is that some faithful pray-ers were covering him and the school that day. I don’t know why God chose to protect here and not the other places. But we are very thankful that hundreds of kids were kept safe.
I wish I could understand the mystery of prayer. I wish I could be a great intercessor. The hard times have pushed me into praying more passionately but I still have a long way to go! What I am most grateful for is that you have been there praying for us, and your prayers have been answered time and time again.
It is not only our own supporters for whom this letter is written. Every Partner serving cross-culturally could share of God’s faithfulness and answers to your prayers, just like us. On behalf of them all, to each one of you, our faithful prayer partners: thanks!
The author is an Interserve Partner
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Isaiah 65:24 (KJV)