Ministry is largely getting involved in what God is already doing in people’s lives. Recently, I had the privilege to meet and visit with a Deaf man I will call Eric. As I have learned more about him and his story, the more amazed I am at how God worked to get him into a Bible study. For the sake of propriety all the names are changed, and some things are intentionally left ambiguous. Also, since I heard the story from a couple of different people over a few months, some of the details are a little fuzzy as I pieced the story together, and I apologize if I misrepresent anything from what I gathered from the different sources. To the best of my understanding the following is a few of the links of a chain God forged to help Eric get to know Him better:
Eric grew up in a rural community, and was one of three deaf brothers.
Eric has a Deaf friend, that we will refer to as Charlie.
Charlie had learned about a Deaf men’s retreat, wanted to go, and invited Eric to come with him.
It “just happened” that Eric was having some family struggles and was looking for some help and was grateful to have gone.
At the retreat, Charlie reconnected with a missionary to the Deaf (Mr. B), whom he had met years before.
Charlie asked Mr. B if they could have a Deaf men’s Bible study, and they began to pray about starting it.
During some of our deputation travels, God opened up a Wednesday night in our schedule. We weren’t sure where to go, but I felt prompted by God to go to a church near a rural area. I had stumbled across it in my research as I was looking for churches to contact. I had never gone before, nor been able to get in contact with the pastor. It was just a cold-call "drop in." I remember telling Marie that, “I have no idea how this is going to go, but I think we are supposed to be here.”
After service the pastor kindly booked us for a meeting, and the following day we spent about two to three hours visiting together.
A little while later we showed up for a deputation meeting, and God put on my heart to spend the Sunday School hour teaching on the Deaf, and how much being Deaf impacts every area of their lives.
God used that day to place a burden on the pastor’s heart for the Deaf, and he began to learn some sign language and reached out to the missionary to the Deaf he knew, Mr. B, asking about reaching the Deaf in his area.
This was the same general area where Charlie lives, and the Lord allowed a Deaf Bible study to begin at the church, with Mr. B leading it and the pastor joining them.
The group has grown, and has about ten people coming at times.
A few months later, I had the privilege to visit this church again, and meet Eric, who has been faithfully attending the Deaf Bible study.
Eric was excited and told me, “After the first Bible study I went away and said, ‘This is what I need. I need someone to teach me more of the Bible!"
It was an exciting moment to meet Eric, and to see how God was at work in his life and let us be a part of it! We got to be a link in the chain, or a thread in the tapestry, of Eric’s life. But what if one of the links were broken? What if Charlie hadn’t invited his friend? Or if Mr. B had told Charlie he was just too busy? Or I had gone somewhere else that I knew already? Or if the pastor had just brushed off the burden God placed on his heart? I honestly don’t know what God would’ve done. However, I do know that we would have missed a blessing to be a part of it if any one of us had decided not to respond to what God was doing in our lives - and maybe Eric would still be waiting to learn more about the Bible.
Family and deputation update: We are so excited to be less than 5% away from reaching our support goal. We are at 96% promised support, and we are working on finalizing a departure date in January to leave! It is hard to believe we are so close to going to Romania! Our family is doing well, and they have all traveled well. We have a few meetings scheduled between now and the end of the year, and we are trusting God to bring in the partners we need to meet, or even exceed, our goal. We are also focusing on all the things that are involved in moving internationally, and would appreciate your prayers as we work through all the logistics. Thank you for being a link in the chain with us!