Don’t you just love looking through old photos? It’s TBT as I write this (Throw Back Thursday, for you non-Facebook fans), but that’s not the reason why I’ve been looking through old pics.
No, I’ve been preparing for a trip to a church in central Nebraska that has asked to hear more about LAMP—the Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots—the mission organization of which I am a part of. More specifically, this congregation wants to hear about changed lives. “How have you seen God change people’s lives through your ministry?”
So, as I flip through 13 years of pictures of mission trips to a remote reservation in northern Canada called Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, I ponder this question. In a short answer, the pictures tell the story—YES!—I have seen God dramatically change the lives of people on my team, on other LAMP teams, and in the Canadian mission field (and other places, too).
However, I can’t help but wonder…exactly how were those lives changed? Were they changed for just a moment? A few years? Are these people still “changed?” Or do they sometimes still struggle with things, just as I do? (Sorry, God, so many questions, all of which I don’t have, nor need to know, the answers to.) I’m pretty sure, if my life is any indication, that walking with the Lord is something like “two steps forward, one step backward.”** The key, though, is that God is walking beside you. And even if you’ve pushed Him away, remember, He will never, ever give up on you. He still pursues you, He loves you that much.
At any rate, I am super excited to share some of the testimonies God has given me while on the mission field. I can vividly recall times when God used other missionaries’ testimonies to pry open my heart. It was after hearing about specific, amazing, God-ordained miracles that I began to wonder: “This God of which they speak is so much more powerful than the God I know. I want to know God in the way that these people know Him. I want to serve God in the mission field … somehow, someway. I want to help others understand not only the depth of God’s love, but His real-ness and the power of His presence.” Have I seen God touch and heal and change people’s lives? You bet! Including my own, countless times. What an honor and a blessing, that He would consider me worthy to work so mightily in my life, and even give me glimpses of how He’s at work in other people’s lives.
You are worthy, too. You see, “He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) Far. More. Abundantly. Expect it. Watch for it! With anticipation.
God bless you!
**“If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.” ~Oswald Chambers