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“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which
are behind, and reaching forth unto those things
which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Recovering from my knee replacement, I was at
the doctor’s office waiting my turn. Finding a place to sit and hoping
it was going to be a short time before I was called back, the first thing I looked for was something to
read. I browsed the stack of two choices and picked up a magazine that featured old farm houses that had been updated, yet maintain
the integrity of the past. This particular issue was centered on the porches that surrounded those old farm houses. I grew up in that
era and it was a good one. There were always swings, chairs, reading material, a place to sit your favorite drink, a few plants, beautiful
greens and lots of colorful trinkets that chimed on a windy day. The porch was a place where neighbors sat in the cool of the evening
to chat about the garden, the weather or the latest news. Sometimes a neighbor lady’s name would come up in that conversation about
what she said about the other neighbor. From that point, the conversation would go south until it was time to go home and get a good
I still love old porches. As children, we never got involved in adult conversations, but we sure enjoyed the porch when it rained. We
would get our scooter, trike, and even a toy fire engine we could sit on and push ourselves around, often being told not to make too
much noise with our toys – to pipe down!
There are some things in the past that we ought to forget. However, there are some things we need to put in our box of blessings that will
sustain us during our quiet times and help us navigate through the unchartered territories of life.
If I were to open my box of blessings, I would be reminded of all the Lord did beginning in that summer of 1993. Perhaps you were one
of the students that attended CAMP BIMI that first year. Right now my heart is filled with joy as I sit on the porch called Memory Lane.
Who would have ever imagined that the Lord would do what He has done for His Glory these past 25 years! Receiving each of your
prayer letters, photos or handwritten notes, we are blessed beyond measure to watch you mature in your spiritual life. Your children are
growing; your ministries are growing; and your people are growing spiritually in the Lord.
We’ve had the joy of reality missions training with many of you in at least 2 of 49 SMART trip countries, later visiting you on the field, or
just passing through and being able to get a bird’s eye view of your ministry. Other times,
we’ve had ‘the opportunity to sit on your porch’, meet your family and hear your stories.
If you’re learning a new language and adjusting to a multitude of cultural differences, it
can tax your physical, social and most definitely your spiritual strength. Let me say that
I’ve never met an older, well-seasoned missionary couple who does not have their own
box of past blessings and adventures about when they first went to the field or into ministry. Ask them to
share. It will lighten your fears and bring laughter to your soul. I think it is called transparency.
Well, I’ve been out here on the porch long enough, have lots to do, and I have certainly had enough
experiences to fill more than a few dozen journals or even write a book! Love your children. Praise your
wife. Feed your people good spiritual food, and by all means, DON’T QUIT! Serve the Lord where He
has placed you. It’s where your puzzle piece fits!
Those porch flowers need water every morning and there are people in ‘your place of service’ who need
the Lord, even your neighbors. Keep your porch light on so someone can see that you’re available, often
times just to listen, talk or share. Be there for a world who needs Christ!
Committed to Finding Where You Fit in Missions,
I Corinthians 15:58
My Heros ~ My Examples ~ My Mentors
Yes, that would be so many of YOU! You’ve stuck by the stuff, even when the going got tough. When you did not understand God’s
Leading, and did not know the reason why; when you felt your best was only failure – still to Him in faith you did reply: “I will trust
when I cannot see, when I’m faced with adversity; for I know Your Will is always best for me. I will trust when I cannot see!”
You’ve bloomed where you’re planted.
You’ve followed the light even when there was a bend in the road.
You’ve acted on Holy Spirit Prompting and met so many peoples’ needs.
You’ve prayed for things to happen time and time again.
Reflecting back, look up and sing the old George Beverly Shea song ‘Oh the Wonder of it All.’
BUT even the most reliable vehicle needs its’ tank filled consistently. Behind closed doors, there are those times of drain, doubt, dismay
and discouragement. Your plane circles the airport time and time again in a holding pattern and the weight of your current burden/
You KNOW ALL the verses, ALL the right answers, ALL the right things to say and do … BUT for this time and for this place AND for
this moment, YOU HAVE LITTLE, if any, STRENGTH. YOU need the roadside assistant with a gallon of gas. YOU need that ‘Earth
Angel’ to listen and understand. YOU need that shoulder to cry buckets of tears on. YOU DON’T need or want to hear “You’re strong
and can handle this.” Your plea is “Help me, Lord.” ‘Just As I Am.’
FIRST AID IS ON THE WAY!
Recently, Bro. B and I had the privilege of being invited to attend the West Africa BIMI Field Conference. What a blessing to be with
several of our missionaries, six of our CB alumni – four serving in that part of the world – and two moving in that direction The ladies
received a journal and a candle with these suggestions for entries. It would work just as well for guys, but also can be adjusted for
everyone, no matter where your puzzle piece has fit.
Section One Entries: Salvation – Call to Missions – Journey There – Your First Time Arrival in your country or new ministry –
Record your Memories of those Mile Marker Moments.