My family is a bit unique.
There’s just 4 of us . We’re super close, but we’ve never had the privilege of having extended family nearby. “Going to Grandma’s for dinner” or “sleeping over at my cousin’s house” were never common phrases used at home. However, “hey, clean the living room–a missionary is coming to spend the night” or “get out all the mattresses, we’re going to need them all tonight” were very common. When we first moved to our current home, I remember my parents holding a little prayer meeting and telling God that this house is His home and will be used for His glory. I can say with absolute confidence that I’ve witnessed the truth of that statement with my own eyes. I can’t tell you how many prayer meetings, Bible studies, worship nights, “share what Jesus has done in your life recently” gatherings have been held in this home over the years. And having a missionary stay with us is one of my favorite ways that we get to use our home for His glory.
Last night, our dear friend Kevin Phillips spent the night. We met the Phillips family when we lived in Europe for a summer and spent a couple days in Budapest, Hungary. We stayed at their home and the two words I’d use to describe our time there would be “utter joy” (ironically, Mrs. Phillips’ first name is Joy and it suits her perfectly). When we were there, their older daughter Christiana was away at camp so we only met Mr. and Mrs. Phillips and their youngest, Bri (the little girl in blue, next to my brother and Jennie. Jennie had studied abroad in England and happened to be staying in Budapest with another missionary family at the same time that my family stayed with the Phillips. She watched Bri while Mr. and Mrs. Phillips took our family to help them at the public school camp they were running and using to share the gospel and show love to the kids. Needless to say, she and I hit it off and became fast friends!). I dug up my journal from that summer and found the following entry:
Lord, teach me to love like this sweet little girl I met here in Budapest today. She hugs everyone and truly seems to have Your joy overflowing from her heart. Teach me to love You like she does, with unwavering faith.
Bri is the perfect description of childlike faith. When we were there, she would pray, “Hi, Jesus. How are you?” So personal. So simple. So confident that He’s listening. Her faith inspired me, especially because I was still wondering why the Lord had allowed our possessions to be stolen on what was supposed to be our last day in Vienna. In fact, here’s the first part of my journal entry from the day before we met the Phillips.
Father, help me to rejoice in all circumstances. I am easily discouraged sometimes by situations. God, let me always rejoice in You! Please give me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Give me the ability to face everything that comes my way with Your strength alone.
God gave me joy by bringing us to the Phillips’ home. I could go on and on about how wonderful our short time was with them, but that’s not my point for today. Hearing Mr. Phillips talk this morning about all the churches he’s visiting to try and raise support struck a nerve.
I often have this desire to get out of here, leave my friends and family, and move to another country to share the Gospel and do ministry. But for now, I’m here in America. I wasn’t born in the US on accident: God sovereignly placed me here. I don’t know for how long; all I know is that I’m here now. But my reach isn’t limited to here. I have the awesome privilege of knowing so many missionaries and hearing about their ministries in different parts of the world. A few hours ago, I started (and almost finished…it’s that quick/easy/good of a book!) “Revolution in World Missions” (click on the link to order it for free or download the pdf file). Here’s a quote from the chapter entitled “Is Missions an Option?”:
Born into affluence, freedom, and divine blessings, Americans should be the most thankful people on earth. But along with the privilege comes a responsibility. The Christian must ask not only why, but also what he should do with these unearned favors. Throughout Scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance: sharing. God gives some people more than they need so that they can be channels of blessing to others…
I may not physically be in another country (yet), but by the grace of God I have the oblitunity (obligation + opportunity for you folks unfamiliar with “Bethel” lingo 🙂 ) to have an impact through prayer and financial support. I can be a part of reaching the Hungarians/(any people group) for Christ by supporting the Phillips/(missionaries there). What an amazing God who gives me the chance to reach another country for Him even without me physically being there. I love Him.
He is so good to me
God’s grace in my life today:
I get to take part in what God is doing around the world by being a channel of blessing and supporting men and women serving Him in other countries.
I encourage you to find a missionary to support. Use your money to make an impact globally for Christ. Here’s a link to the Phillips’ website if you’re interested in how you can specifically pray for them and/or if you would like to support them financially! The Phillips Family