The last year has been an interesting one for Mark and I as we have felt a hushed silence from God. I can’t quite describe how emotional of a journey that is for a pastor to walk through a valley, but as we always tell people…when God isn’t speaking, just continue to do the last thing He told you until He tells you something else.
Through the summer things began to change for the better. It was as if the darkness was coming to an end. The culmination of this season came during Mark’s trip to Brazil in September. Mark simply asked for one thing from God…”Speak to me again.”
And did He ever. Mark literally cried through the whole two week trip as the presence of God flooded his life. He would video chat with me with red, puffy eyes telling me the stories of the day through more tears. One night he called and said, “God spoke to me. As clear as the day he called me to ministry, he told me to give $10,000 to a church in Argentina. We’ve got to do it!”
You might think I argued with him at that moment, but after years of ministry, I know the mantle and the anointing that Mark carries. If God told him to do it, He would provide. We immediately began to pray, re-think our own budget, and presented it to our church when he got home.
The first check we received was for $1000. It came from an unassuming couple who really did not have the money to give. We watched as God POURED out blessing after blessing on this family and completely turned their entire financial circumstance around in a matter of days. It was incredible.
The next $1000 came from several people, including Mark and I, who couldn’t give one large sum, but instead made a monthly commitment. It boosted our faith as we knew that the goal would be met in time. Big numbers are awesome, but it’s the consistent givers who keep the doors open!
But then last Sunday we watched a story come to a quick and miraculous end. A couple in our church felt like God gave them an amount to give. Not quite sure, they asked Mark how much had come in…$2000. They laughed to themselves as the amount God spoke was $8000. They wrote the check, sure that God was clear and their beautiful hearts just wanted to please Him.
I’m not sure how to describe what that moment was like for Mark and I. After the silence and the darkness, there was no more struggle…just an unfolding of obedience before our eyes. The burden was light, the yoke was easy.
So, for those of you who were able to give…thank you. God needed you to give, a church in Argentina needed you to give, but most touching for me is that your pastors needed you to give. We needed to hear God, respond accordingly, have His people rise up, and meet the goal. It was a refreshing reminder of why we do what we do!
Ironically, although overjoyed at the result, I almost feel bad for people who didn’t get “in on the miracle”. It’s fun to be a part of something, but it happened so fast that some people who wanted to give might not have had the chance. It’s almost like a great Black Friday sale where they run out of the goods by 6:00 am! So, for those of you who didn’t get to give…give anyway. We may have this particular need crossed off, but we support 11 missionaries who have a list of needs a mile long. Dropping another $10,000 towards God’s work around the world is the perfect Christmas gift, don’t you think?
Mark your envelopes for Be Present and we’ll see what God does next! I can’t wait….