You can’t stay where you are, whether it’s physically, spiritually or emotionally, and go farther with God. Yesterday, I got to see my dear friend and her daughter at church. Her daughter was in town from Niteroi, Brazil. She has been a missionary there for 14 years. Her ministry is flourishing for two reasons: One, God wants it to happen, and, two, Patti acts in obedience and with faith in response to the call. When I tell you that she’s been there fourteen years, I can’t even imagine that kind of adjustment, those initial feelings of how in the world it would happen, the beginning places of the complete void of Christ in the mission field where she was called, and the fear and pain of knowing what God called you to do required more than anything she’d ever been asked to do before. And it’s not only Patti’s sacrifice. Each of her family have surrendered a huge part of their lives and have had to place Patti to the Hands of God. Every time Patti has to leave, she and her mother and dad and family goes through a crisis of faith which they works through so sweetly. Everything is entrusted to prayer. Every move Patti and her missionary partner, Georgia, make is bathed in prayer. And miracles abound.
As I work through Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, and read about others God has called, it seems to work pretty much the same way–no formula or anything, but Jonah had to leave his home and overcome a prejudice to call the people of Ninevah to repentance. (Jonah 1-4) Noah couldn’t continue his life and build an ark. (Genesis 6) Paul had to totally change directions and begin preaching to Gentiles. (Acts 9) Elisha left his family and his farm to follow Elijah as prophet. (I Kings 19) Each of these callings required a major adjustment in their lives that required faith and faithful action in obedience on their part. In contrast, the rich young ruler in Luke 18 wanted eternal life but walked away sad that he did not want to make the adjustment to sell His possessions and follow Christ. Blackaby points out that you can’t walk in obedience and not make major adjustments in your life. Interestingly, most of us would call these adjustments sacrifices. However, it seems the people I know who’ve actually sold out completely for Christ don’t see it as sacrifice for all the gain and miracles they’ve had the privilege of witnessing through their obedience.
Patti started with a felt board ministry under the trees telling Bible stories to children in Brazil. Today, God has two churches thriving that she has been instrumental in planting with a third one on the way, and she has discipled many to go out and serve in leadership and in evangelism. Check out her site, and prayerfully consider Blackaby’s suggestion. “Where you see God working IS your invitation to join him.” You are being called to a crisis of belief also, whether it’s with missions or in another area of your life. Where and how you respond is an opportunity for you to grow in faith respond in action. The laborers are few. Are you being called? If you are in Christ, you can answer that question with an undeniable yes. Where are you being called? Let God move you today. He is no doubt showing you where He is at work. What will you do?
Please take a moment and pray for Patti and Georgia and their work in Brazil. It blesses me so to see how God has His Hand mightily upon their work. I can’t wait to see how all of this turns out.