When things are going well, do you ever find yourself relying on your own efforts and failing to recognize God's hand of provision? I wish I could answer, "No!" to this question, but the truth is that I do this all the time. Although I frequently take time with my family to thank God for providing our basic needs, somehow—when it comes to certain areas of my life—I tend to rely on myself.
A big part of preparing for missionary service with MMS is developing our team of ministry partners. We hope that we can be a blessing to our ministry partners by sharing how God is working in us and through our ministry. They encourage us, pray for us, and provide the financial resources we need to serve in missions. It's this last part—raising our financial support—that can be one of the most trying aspects of preparing for service with a missionary organization. It's also an area that I can tend to take into my own hands. There are always more phone calls to make, letters to send, and presentations to give. God certainly honors our efforts and uses all of these things to draw people into partnership with us. But without his power, all of these efforts are in vain.
If you read our last blog post, you know that we have been dealing with discouragement lately. It seemed like no matter how many calls we made, or how many people we talked to, we were stuck at about 65% funding (as you may know, we cannot begin serving with MMS until we have raised the funds to cover all of our ongoing expenses). We finally reached a point of desperation. I felt ready to throw in the towel, and all I could do was pray. My family and I had, in fact, been praying all along. But a different kind of prayer is born from a place of helplessness and despondency. My prayers took the form of heartfelt cries to the sovereign, Almighty God, for His divine intervention.
It seemed like the moment Tara and I began praying fervently, God began answering. We had several meaningful conversations. People who had been unresponsive for weeks suddenly returned our messages. And we even received some new financial commitments. It was as if God wanted to bless our efforts, but had to slow us down and remind us of our dependence on Him. He is the one who first called us to Himself. He is the one who sent us into the world as His ambassadors of reconciliation. And He is the one who will draw others into partnership with us as we respond to His call.
So, with that background, here is the good news. For the past week, we have been praying specifically that we would reach 70% funding by the end of today. Well, this afternoon we received a phone call from a family that wants to partner financially with us for $50/month. That pledge, combined with a couple others that we received earlier in the week, brought us to exactly 70 percent! This is an answer to prayer and a great encouragement to us. We thank God for his provision, and can't wait to see how He continues to meet our every need! May we continue to trust in Him, and not in ourselves only!