We were not the right sort of people that God could use, or so we thought…
My wife and I are first generation Christians. We both came to Christ in our mid-teens, met and married before we were 20, and now have 5 children, and 7 grandchildren. Neither of us were the right sort of people that God could use, or so we thought.
Our youngest had just reached school-age when our local church was encouraged to prayerfully consider adopting an area in Central Asia that some of us could pray for and perhaps visit on short friendship evangelism trips.
Having selected the area we as a church felt we could pour our hearts into, I was asked to lead a prayer team with my wife, on a short-term trip. I nearly dismissed it out of hand as, with a large family on a small income, a two week trip abroad seemed impossible but as I prayed I felt faith rise up. God provided and we went.
We sat in tea gardens and chatted to young students who were happy to try out their English. They took us to see the local beauty spots and insisted we try local delicacies. And we gave them gifts of sweets and scriptures.
After several trips to our ‘adopted city’, when we returned we both knew we had come home…
By the time our youngest were in high school we had made several trips, some even with our whole family. God remained faithful. As we arrived once again in our adopted city, we both knew that we had come home. From that day we began to explore the possibility of moving out onto the mission field.
“Here I am, send me!” I have no more than a rudimentary education, my wife could have gone to university if she had not married me. I qualified as a gas-fitter, followed that line of work for many years – then I swapped it all to drive double-decker buses through the streets of London. How will God use us in Central Asia? What will we do? He has called so we will go.
We always say that our children refused to leave home, so we did. A few months after settling our youngest two into college, we packed our bags and, leaving the family, and home, in the more than capable hands of our three eldest children we set off on our kingdom adventure.
“Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies”. Arriving in one of our host country`s major cities we settled into a stripped life. All our cultural norms gone, our positions gone, church roles, language all gone. It is a humbling experience to find yourself asking “Who am I exactly?”
We immersed ourselves in language learning, using a variety of different types of input. Coming up for air like a drowning swimmer gradually finding a rhythm, and breathe. One skill you need is a thick skin and the ability to laugh at yourself.
When our ability to communicate the good news in their language took effect, it was thrilling…
Meeting with other believers, throwing ourselves into church activities, making friends and seeing the light of understanding dawn in our own lives as the language took hold, and in the lives of others around us as our ability to communicate the good news took effect, has been thrilling.
Finding our prayer life to be our only anchor at that time put us in at the grass roots of a church prayer ministry that is still flourishing today, nearly 14 years later.
Another dream that grew in my heart during those early years when I saw the many buses and coaches that travel noisily through every neighbourhood honking horns to drum up business, was to gather a team and tour throughout this land praying in every state, major city, state and county capital.
Amazing moments of God`s heavenly timing bringing us to meet hungry souls with the bread of life…
It has taken a long time, thousands of miles driven, but we have finally reached that goal. With hours upon hours of prayer, worship and praise we have taken teams to every part of this land. We have experienced amazing moments of God`s heavenly timing bringing us to meet hungry souls with the bread of life.
For many years now my wife and I have been living in the city we adopted and visited so many times when our family was young. We have the honour to be involved in the lives of a small, faithful group of local believers, and now we are grandparents to a whole new brood, both in the new generation back home, and in the new generation of local believers here.
A university city, over the years we have seen many young men turn to Christ, only to return to their home towns for work. However one young man came and heard, and went. A year later he returned to learn more and believed, then went home. Eighteen months later he was ready to be baptised, and it was my honour to play a part in his journey.
All the praise and glory belongs to the author of our story Jesus Christ.
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