Friday, June 17, 2011

Living Beyond Obstacles

This is from a tract that my mom wrote way back when our family was raising funds to go to Ecuador to be church planters. I find it very encouraging to read through every now and then:

Living Beyond Obstacles – by Diana McKeen

My husband, Dan, was a farmer. He had worked with his mother and brothers on our farm in Albion, Maine, for 16 years when the Lord began to show Dan a need for a greater harvest, a harvest of souls.

In October of 1995, Dan attended a missions conference where the Holy Spirit began to tug on his heart concerning missions. Jim Carter, Berean Missionary to Ecuador, challenged Dan to go on a missions work team. The ready excuse was, “We can’t afford that. We’re farmers. We have a family, a house, and other financial obligations.”

But the Lord directs the desires of our hearts. God had begun to turn Dan’s eyes away from his fields in Maine and toward the mission field. Ultimately, he agreed to join a work team.

When Dan returned to the farm and to our regular routine, we began to wonder if the trip was really God’s will for us. We hadn’t received any communication concerning the trip for what seemed to be a long time. And besides, we were already serving the Lord here in Albion. We worked in Sunday school, Awana, and church leadership. Wasn’t that enough?

Distracted by everyday life, we began to desire a second car. After all, we were taking ten children to Awana in our station wagon now. Wouldn’t a second car enable us to serve the Lord even more? So we found an affordable car and bought it. When we went to register the car, the Lord intervened. An error was found in the title, the car was returned, and our money was refunded. That night we received a call asking Dan to join a Berean Mission work team to Ecuador.

God began to prepare our heart attitudes and prepare the way financially through the giving of His people. Most of the details of the trip were falling into place, but we still had obstacles to overcome. Because Dan had been late in applying for a passport, and because the U. S. budget crisis threatened a government shutdown, we were afraid his passport would not arrive before his scheduled departure time. However, God provided his passport with two weeks to spare.

The time for Dan’s departure came with a few other difficulties. He was to fly out of Bangor, Maine, early on the morning of February 16, 1996, to meet the rest of the team in St. Louis. Heavy snow that day delayed his flight and kept him waiting anxiously until his flight was finally cancelled at 3 p. m. While Dan was stranded in Bangor, his team left St. Louis and flew to Ecuador without him. But he knew God had called him to go and he was determined to follow that calling. After the storm abated, Dan left for Ecuador alone. Three days later, late in the evening, he arrived in Quito, Ecuador.

Dan spent the next 16 days working hard and being blessed greatly. He stayed in the home of some national believers. Though separated by language, they were united in the Spirit of God as Dan shared in the Guaman family’s times of devotion, prayer, and song. His view of God’s work expanded as he fellowshipped with these believers in Ecuador.

Dan’s visitation expanded further as he observed foreign missionaries in action. Seeing the obedience and sacrifice of these missionaries encouraged him to look beyond the comfortable life we know in the States. He learned how to pray more effectively for missionaries and the work of missions.

When the time came to return home, the question was asked when he would be going on a team again. “Maybe in a few years,” Dan answered. But God was again changing his desires.

As a result of this trip and the work that God has done in his heart, Dan has enrolled at New Brunswick Bible Institute to obtain the training needed to be a foreign missionary. Our family, made up of Dan and me and our four children, will be moving to Canada while Dan attends school.

Through these dramatic changes in our family’s life, our biggest obstacle has been ourselves: our struggle to let go of the familiar, our tendency to get distracted by everyday life, or our forgetting what God has done in the past. If we keep our focus on daily obedience, we will continue to witness God’s working in and through us.

God changed our family from Albion farmers to missionary applicants through a 16-day mission trip. God used this trip to significantly communicate His desire for us to serve Him in spreading the Gospel to lost people in a foreign land. If you are serious about missions, consider a work team. It will change your life, too!

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