Just like that, the ministry of deputation has come to a close. Just under two years and four months of traveling to churches across the United States, sharing our plans and asking for prayer and financial support. We just had our last official meeting the first week of December. Now it is full steam ahead to move to Romania in about five weeks on January 17th! We are communicating with a Romanian in Bucharest that is helping us locate housing and compile the necessary paperwork for our visa application. We will begin language school the beginning of February by starting with a Romanian culture class and then jumping into learning Romanian full time. As we look forward with excitement and expectation, we are aware of how much we need your faithful prayers.
Recently I had the opportunity to read the biography of James Fraser (1886-1938), written by his daughter Eileen Fraser Crossman, entitled Mountain Rain. He was a missionary in China for many years, primarily seeking to reach the spread out, tribal, and demon-worshiping people of the Lisu. He wrote much about the necessity of prayer support in his work. I was strengthened and challenged by the man’s passion and devotion. In writing to those that faithfully prayed for him he compared the importance of their work in what he was doing in two very pictorial ways.
The first was of a soldier fighting on the front lines:
"’What would you think of the folly of the soldier who fired a gun into the gas to kill it or drive it back?’ he asked. ‘It would be no more effective to teach or preach to the Lisu while they were held back by those invisible forces. Poisonous gas cannot be dispersed, I suppose, in any other way than by wind springing up and dispersing it. Man is powerless.
‘For the breath of God can blow away all those miasmic vapors from the atmosphere of a village in answer to your prayers. We are not fighting against flesh and blood. You deal with the fundamental issues of this Lisu work when you pray against the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of this darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies.’”
The second was of a traveler in a valley:
“From a human point of view, evangelistic work on the mission field was ‘like a man going about in a dark, damp valley with a lighted match in his hand, seeking to ignite anything ignitable.
‘But things are damp through and through and will not burn however much he tries. In other cases, God's wind and sunshine have prepared beforehand. The valley is dry in places, and when the lighted match is applied- here a shrub, there a tree, here a few sticks, there a heap of leaves take fire and give light and warmth long after the kindling match and its bearer have passed on.’”
While every illustration breaks down, what I hope these remind and impress you with is the necessity of your prayer support. We are so grateful for the many prayer partners that Lord has brought to fight with us in the battle ahead. We are in a war, and you are an essential part of it. We need you to pray for us, our family, our housing situation, our language learning, and primarily for the opportunities we will have to be a testimony and share the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also need you to pray for God to continue to prepare the way before us, to be working in hearts and lives and bringing us across their path, for the enemy to be weakened, and for the ground to be ready to plant with the seed of the Gospel. Thank you for your faithful prayers for us as we press forward for the Glory of God.
Merry Christmas from our family!
Ben & Marie
Serenity (19 months)
William and Penny (5 months)