Since we first embarked on this adventure of taking the Gospel to where it has never gone before, we have met many different believers and ended up in quite a number of different local churches. And what a joy it has been to have so many of them standing with us. They have for sure been our cheerleaders as they have encouraged us, prayed for us, guided us, and supported us financially. These are the people that have entered frequently into the throne room of God to intercede on our behalf, and on behalf of the P nation. How invaluable they all are to us!! Without their strategic involvement, there is no way that we could be doing what we are doing on the front lines.
And you know, from the very beginning of our journey of faith om God’s Bigness and Greatness, we decided to trust Him to take care of us and meet all our needs. And so we would never come right out and ask people or church bodies to support us financially, but rather we continually talked to our Heavenly Father about it. But then of course, if someone showed an interest and asked how we were supported, we would tell them the facts. So it has been a joy to count big on God in this adventure and see Him prove Himself faithful time and again.
And in order to increase our partnership, we have always asked God for more contacts and have always taken every opportunity that came our way. Be it in leading a Bible study, taking a chapel at different grade schools, meeting with young people, presenting the work on a Sunday morning, visiting folks that needed encouragement, taking individuals out for coffee, or whatever, we have always sought to be channels through whom the living Christ can work, and so in this way God has raised up quite a team of people to watch our backs and be in our corner. And so having all these cheerleaders rooting on our behalf and for the P people, well it has been such a blessing!
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
And even as we were preparing for going overseas to take the Gospel to an Unreached People Group (UPG), we continually called out to the Lord to meet our needs. I remember one time when we wanted to go home to visit Teresa’s parents for break and we had no money for gas. So we stayed on compus for an extra two weeks and helped out my mowing lawns and so forth. And still the whole time, we were talking to our great God about wanting to make a trip to the west coast to visit our parents. Well suddenly an envelope appeared in our mailbox. There was 90 bucks inside. And according to our calculations, this was just enuf to pay for the gas from MO all the way west! And so off we went driving day and night! And we arrived nicely with a bit to spare. How faithful God has proven Himself to be to us time and time and time again!
But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus.
As we were visiting different churches and friends before our initial departure for our country of service, our agency informed us of the amount of monthly support that was needed. Well, the amount that we were receiving each month was way below the amount that they gave. However, when the time came to depart, both of us felt that we should move forward and that God in His huge faithfulness would provide for our every need. Maybe He wouldn’t provide for all our wants, but He certainly would provide for our needs. And so we headed off for the airport.
And when we got to the airport, we had some unexpected shipping expenses…..and so ended up arriving in the country with just 63 dollars! And the bus ride down to where we would be studying the national language was 20 bucks and so we arrived there with only 43 dollars to our name!! The folks who were already there studying were fairly poor as well and so were hoping that we would arrive with a little extra to help the gang out. However, our little bundle of shekels didn’t do much to encourage them! Anyway, God proved himself faithful time and again. Yes, we had to boil our water. No, we didn’t have refrigeration. Yes, it was extremely hot and way too hot to be drinking warm water when we were so thirsty! And yes, we often ate just beans and rice day after day. But hey, we had enough and we were taken care of…..and God saw us through those times all right. We really didn’t suffer at all.
How precious is Your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of Your wings. You feed them from the abundance of Your own house, letting them drink from Your river of delights. For You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Pour out Your unfailing love on those who love You; give justice to those with honest hearts.
When we moved out into the village where the UPGs lived, funds were in low supply and yet we were able to adapt. The plane would bring our groceries in every three months and we just ordered what we could afford. What we couldn’t afford we did without. We were fine!! We got right down to digging our well, our outhouse, and building our little dwelling. We adapted to living a simpler life-style and just ate cheaper than we normally would of. Truly God had met our needs!
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
When we came back to North America for our first time of Home Assignment, we needed a vehicle. So we were giving this need over to the Lord. When we got to a certain supporting church, one of the members invited us to his place saying that he had a vehicle for us. Well this was indeed exciting! We went there, had some great fellowship in the evening, and then when we got up, he came to me and said something like this: I had a hard night. And the Lord really rebuked me. Here I was going to give you our old Mercury but the Lord clearly let me know that I shouldn’t give you my old one but rather the one I had just purchased. So it was unbelievable! He gave me the keys to his brand new car and said to use it as long as I needed it. Well, I drove out of that farm yard with a classy new Mercury Brougham hardly able to believe it! Wow, the goodness and bigness of God! He truly had a lot of surprises for us on this amazing adventure of faith….and we discovered too how dear and precious his people were as they became instruments of His goodness!!
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
After our first term on the field, we as a team clearly saw the need for a good four-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser that would be of huge assistance in getting supplies and doing things for our dear P folks. And so we began to pray about getting that vehicle. And we also needed a reliable diesel generator for power. We had lived the first four years without it and saw that we could get the work done more quickly if we had electricity available and so we began to ask the Lord about that too. Well it was pretty amazing how one month when we got our monthly voucher, someone had anonymously given enough money to purchase both those items. We never found out who it was but God had a direct line to that person’s heart and touched them to give. Yes, God is faithful and has proven Himself to be exactly that time and time again down through the 41 years of the work.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
And it isn’t only the physical support that you need from the Lord but also spiritual encouragement and endurance along the way. Taking the Gospel to an Unreached People Group is truly waging war against the enemy. Satan is alive and well, and will do all in his power to hinder and thwart the work at every turn. How important to live with the armor on, and to be finding our strength, joy, peace and motivation in Christ. For right from the beginning after we entered P land, there was so much opposition. It was while we were building our mud and pole houses that a helicopter suddenly landed. A professor from one of the liberal universities had somehow heard about us and had come to read us the riot act. He wanted us out of there immediately.
Here we hadn’t even begun really but already the opposition had started. Well we told that we had verbal permission from the minister of justice and that there was freedom of religion here in the country and that we were staying. He left and we never heard from him again. However, the opposition was constant as anthropologists, people from Indian Affairs, ranchers, and government people opposed us. But how good it was to be strong in our Lord’s strength and stand against the opposition. Yes, it was there all right, but the Lord sustained us and kept us plugging on. He gave us tons of spiritual support all through this journey!
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
And then of course we totally needed the Lord’s intervention to bring the P people to salvation. How in the world can one get inside someone else’s head and bring them to Christ. They can’t! Sure, we would spend 6.5 years studying language and culture, and we could develop great relationships with the people, but when it actually came to them exchanging their world view for the Biblical one, well God had to do that. And what a joy it was to trust Him for it. We kept giving it over to Him. “Lord, save these folks” we say pleading time and time again. And I remember one specific time when I had been teaching the people 5 and 6 times a week for nine months, but still there was no positive response. And as I left the sand dune at about 8 PM that evening, I remember complaining a bit to the Lord about it. Well, the Lord quickly reminded me of Noah who had preached 120 years without seeing anyone come to the Lord. So I thought, well, I only have 119 years and three months to go! I better not be discouraged yet!! But hey, it all came together after a while. But yes, it took time. It took laying solid foundations from the OT for a clear understanding of the NT. It took time to really plow the soil and get out the huge trunks and roots and stones, and really prepare the soil for the seed. But God did it! For in due time we saw a great harvest come in. Yes, God is faithful and His Word will not return void but it will accomplish what He wants it to accomplish. How good to bank big on God in these impossible situations.
Matthew 7:7-8; 21:22
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
As the work continued and ask we taught and continued to translation the Scriptures for them, many hardships came upon us. For one, it was hard to always be separated from our children who were at a school about 8 months out of the year. And then there were problems of disunity at times. And then there were times when our parents got very sick. And then we got sick ourselves with menacing diseases. But you know, God was faithful and continued to encourage our hearts. And one of the verses he used time and again was this:
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
And as we continued to teach the Word chronologically to the believers, wow, it was amazing to see them grasp the truths and grow in truth. And as they grew in the Lord, they began to share with others with increased boldness. Soon seven other villages in the area also wanted teaching. And so we met each morning at about 7 AM and the people walked the 3-5 miles to be there for the classes. We met in a palm hut and what a joy it was to dispense truth to these dear hungry hearts. And what was so cool is that the ten believers who were saved first became my coworkers. They taught with me. I, of course, had the main teaching role but they definitely contributed time and again. This time it was just one foreigner who was presently this alternative world view but it was a bunch of P who were embracing it as well.
Well, before we knew it, 75 believers were added to the existing number of ten. Truly God was building His church!!
I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not prevail against it.
And all through this journey of faith God has proven himself faithful time and again. Yes, he has been faithful to us and faithful to encourage his saints from around the globe to pray. So as we reflect on our history, how grateful we are that we connected with people everywhere where God opened doors, and how thankful we are for all the people that committed themselves to pray and support the church plant among the P people. All praise be to God for what He has accomplished through His beloved brethren and among the dear P people who have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light!!
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.