Have you ever felt clearly called by God to go to a certain place to do a certain thing, only to discover when you got there it wasn’t anything like what you had planned? You couldn’t do what you thought God had led you to do.
This was my recent trip to Southeast Asia.
I’m still not clear as to why God called me to go but I believe He did and just because things didn’t go as I expected them, I’m choosing to trust God had a better plan. An unknown purpose, I can’t see.
After four airplane flights, totalling almost 24 hours in the air (not counting layovers), I finally arrived in Southeast Asia.
We had a beautiful day with church planters’ wives; encouraging them in the battle, listening to their struggles, sharing a meal and loving on them. Each one of these beautiful ladies, is making sacrifices beyond our Western imagination, so that they might carry the gospel to the unreached of Southeast Asia. What a privilege to sit in their midst and hear their hearts. Soul-sisters united by love for our Savior.
Monday morning, we awoke at the crack of dawn to begin our travel to a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, where we were preparing to minister to students at a training center.
I traveled with two other co-workers. Our day included: A two-hour traffic-jammed journey to the airport, a two-hour wait at the airport, a forty minute flight to our Island, lunch at a way-side restaurant near the ocean, a two-hour car ride on very narrow, curvy, up and down, mud-filled primitive roads that seemed to last a life-time.
A hotel room with no sink or shower just a faucet, bucket and toilet and three single beds crammed into our tiny room (one mattress was on the floor).
Dinner at the training center and games with the students and then back to our hotel room where we all fell into bed.
Tuesday through Thursday, I was to be doing Community Health Education training with the students but after the first lesson, we realized these students weren’t ready for this type of training.
The oldest student was twenty-three with the majority of the seventy students being around twenty. So basically, I pitched most everything I had planned on teaching and leaned into the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. I’m trusting He did. I felt His presence and clear direction as I spoke. But I have to say, this was one of the most challenging, enemy-fighting, faith-building, Holy Spirit-seeking training times I’ve ever had.
The western area of this Island is a primitive place. Poverty is rampant. Education is minimal. Electricity comes and goes. WiFi is patchy and life is hard.
Because it is mainly Christian on this part of the Island the government takes no notice of their difficulties and offers very little help. Nominal Christianity is the order of the day. Practicing a religion rather than developing a relationship with God defines most Christians in this place. My heart was saddened and I came away burdened with how Satan is deceiving the nations, because this isn’t just true of this tiny island in Southeast Asia . . .
I wish I could tell you it was a fantastic trip, where we saw God work in profound ways but honestly, I can’t. I believe God was at work but I’m not sure how much the students’ hearts were open to receive it.
I don’t know what God was doing behind the scenes and in hearts but I take hope in the words of Hebrews 4.12-13 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
There is no power in my words, BUT God’s Word is active, alive and powerful and His truth can penetrate the darkest of places and the dirtiest of hearts!
It is evident that Satan is hard at work . . . the potential, in seventy students whose hearts have been transformed by God and are sent out all throughout Southeast Asia to share the gospel, is HUGE! This is what Satan fears, so he is pulling out all the stops and throwing everything he’s got to destroy this ministry in whatever way possible. Please pray!!!
This battle is not just in Southeast Asia, it is here. We have an enemy prowling around seeking out the vulnerable, the confused, those life-shattered souls who have lost their way and he is hard at work waging war using confusion and disillusionment as his weapons of choice.
BUT God is greater. He is our LIVING HOPE! In Him we find refuge from the storm.
God desires a relationship with you. It’s what Jesus died for – to restore what man once experienced long ago in the Garden of Eden – friendship with God! It’s nothing we DO, it’s all been DONE for us, we just need to receive this free gift He offers.
Will you take a moment today and accept this free gift? Jesus did all the work for you when He gave His own life on the cross for you. No amount of good works you can do will accomplish what Jesus did for you on the cross. He made it possible for you to have eternal life and be with God forever! And He did it because He loves you! He wants you with Him.
You might want to say something like this: Jesus I believe you died for me. You paid the penalty for my sins when you died on the cross and I invite you to come into my life and be the Master of my soul. Thank you for forgiving me, loving me and welcoming me into relationship with You!
Spilling His Grace,