In addition to sharing what we have been up to and how God has been providing for us on the way to Romania, we also want to share what God teaches us. Along these lines, several upcoming posts will be occupied with what God taught us in preparation for, during, and after field preparation seminar. But in this post, I want to share a surprise I experienced this weekend.
We are planning to be in Greenville for several weeks while I prepare for ordination. During this time, we intend to revisit churches in the area where we have already had meetings and perhaps to visit a few where we hope to have meetings with in the future. This past Sunday was spent with Emmanuel Bible Church in Mauldin, SC (a church with a heart for God and for the abandoned) and with Romanian Bible Baptist Church in Greenville, SC (a small but delightful group of Romanian believers who have already been very kind to us).
In both services I was asked to give a short update testimony. At Emmanuel, I shared our progress (66%), what God is teaching us (to endure), and when we hope to be in Romania (asap). I shared the same information in the Romanian church but was a little more open about the struggle it has been for us to continue to trust God as we wait on His timing. Then as I was telling my Romanian brothers and sisters how much I loved their people, I nearly cried.
I quickly wrapped up the testimony and sat down. When in my seat, I wondered in amazement why I had had such a strong emotional response. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time I’ve been so emotional in a church meeting. Laurel and I talked about it afterward and came to believe that God simply allowed me to open up in a way that I am not typically inclined to.
After the meeting was over, the pastor shared with me that many times in his life, he has longed and prayed for something for an extended period of time only to have his prayer seem to go unanswered. On those occasions, when he has almost lost all hope and given up in despair, God answered. Why would God do this? Perhaps it’s just to teach us to rely on Him more fully. In any case, our being three years into this process has certainly left us on the precipice of despair. But God’s timing is perfect. His plans are far better than ours, and He is teaching us to continue to trust Him.