Monday, September 1, 2008

Gifts of Encouragement

So, as we wait on the Lord's timing for our departure to France--which could be in six months or six years, all depending on fund raising--there is plenty of time to question and doubt the call. We have everything from "are-we-sure-about-this?" moments to "what-the-heck-are-we-thinking?" moments. I admit they aren't our most spiritual moments, but we have them. More often than not though, just as we are wondering if we are on the right track, God sends us a gift of encouragement. Sometimes it comes through a sermon. Sometimes it comes through something we read. Sometimes, most times, it comes from dear friends who probably have no idea how perfect their timing and how profound their impact. Let me share just a few:

Food and Friendship!
On Friday night we were invited to dinner--a lovely French themed dinner, complete with bread and wine. The family that graciously hosted us is a family that we met through our son, Graham, who considers their son to be one of his best friends. This amazing family is from Germany, and they had relatives visiting from Europe that we were blessed to meet. The relatives were from the Netherlands and France. All were believers, so we had that instant affinity with one another that comes through the Spirit of God. The conversation flowed unbroken from 7:30 p.m. to midnight, and even then, we stood at the front door for half an hour, finding it hard to leave the wonderful friends we had only just met. We learned much about the Spiritual Climate of Europe, and specifically France in the region where we will be working. Although they come from a continent where less than 2% of the population are believers, we felt so inspired by the light that shone brightly from these Christian brothers and sisters. They encouraged us to continue to follow God's lead, and helped us to believe that God really could use us to help reach the lost of France.

Happy Reminders!
Last week my dear friend and prayer partner gave me this little children's book that she picked up at Powell's Book Store on a recent trip to Portland. It is a sweet story about a little girl traveling to Paris, and the artwork is SO precious. It depicts all the great Paris sights, and it instantly reminded me of my new-found love for all things French. What blessed me the most, though, was that my prayer partner THOUGHT of me when she saw it. It's God's ways of keeping the call in front of me, helping me not to become too distracted by the hurdles that loom between us and our destination.

Faithful Equippers!
I have a special friend who is called by God to "Equip the Saints" and boy does she take her job seriously. I think she has single-handedly given me more gifts than my own mother. Some of my favorite pieces of "equipment" are colorful scarves, a hand-made satchel for going to the French market, and the book French Women Don't Get Fat. For Christmas she gave us a French Phrase-a-Day calendar, which has been a source of on-going fun and encouragement.

Another essential piece of equipment was provided by a couple we call our "Mission Mentors." These friends are experienced missionaries who meet with us on a regular basis for prayer, support, and, well, mentoring! They share wisdom, speak truth, and positively radiate joy. A few months ago they blessed our boys with passport applications and the money to cover the application fee. Such a fun and tangible gift, reminding us that in EVERYTHING God will make a way.

No comments:

Post a Comment