While we were back in the States on furlough, I traveled around the southeast reporting back to about 30 partnering churches, sometimes with the family, but oftentimes just on my own.
When we are reporting back to our churches, I usually explain that I have three things that I want to say with the time that I am allotted in the service. 1) Explain to them what we have been doing during our last term. 2) Inform them about what we plan on doing during our next term. 3) Thank them for what they have done that makes what we are doing possible.
When I mention to them about what our plans are for our next term, I let them know that we are going to continue to train nationals in the Bible Institute that we built and continue to oversee our first village church plant where we have seen God do some incredible things.
So what about our new plans for this term? We are excited to focus on planting several churches among the largest unreached people group in Togo, the Lamba. This is a big prayer request, as we do not yet know the exact area where we will work, nor do we yet have a translator. We are very excited about seeing God do the same thing among the unreached Lamba people as we have seen Him do among the voodoo practicing, completely unreached people where we planted our first village church.
The other “big new thing” on the agenda is that we plan to start a small orphanage on our Bible Institute property. The land that we bought several years ago has more space than the Bible Institute needs, and we already have the necessary perimeter wall built. So with the land already purchased and the perimeter wall taken care of, there are really two big things left: the funds to build the orphanage and the wisdom to know how to go about establishing a home for these children.
I am in the process right now of trying to learn as much as I can from others who have started orphanages. Their wisdom will really help us before we get started on our own orphanage. That just leaves the funds to build it and that is where we once again stand amazed at how good and gracious our God is.
We decided when we first became missionaries almost eight years ago that we were not going to send out plea letters or ask others for financial help. Our approach is just to present our ministry plans and leave the rest in the hands of our sovereign Lord to move people to partner with us.
This is exactly what happened while we were at an amazing supporting church in Fayetteville, NC during our recent furlough. During my short talk, I briefly mentioned that we are planning to start an orphanage and then spent most of the time talking about the need to take the gospel to those that are still unreached with the good news.
A few weeks later, out of the blue, the senior pastor contacted us and asked me how much it would cost to build the orphanage. I had not yet sat down to do the numbers, but off of the top of my head, I guesstimated that it would cost about 30K. A few weeks after that call, I got another call, this time from one of the assistant pastors who said he wanted to share the good news with me that somebody in their church had written a check for the orphanage for $30,000! He also let me know that they were going to triple our support, and they were already our second largest supporter! A-MAZ-ING!
I was at a loss for words and did not know how to express our gratitude (and I still am!). A few weeks went by and the assistant pastor called me back with some “bad news”. After having the opportunity to spend some time with this pastor, I had a feeling that he was just joking about the bad news, and he was. He wanted to call me and tell me that someone else in the church had also written a check for the orphanage for another $15,000!
God has always provided for us in so many marvelous ways, and He just continues to amaze us with how He provides for us in ways above and beyond our wildest expectations!
(Picture of our children’s church)