A-mazing!! That’s what Saturday was. One of the things I was looking forward to (as mentioned in a previous post About the 4Ts of aniticipation Feb. 16, 2011) happened this weekend. 2nd man, our two daughters and I went to the headquarters of Voice of the Martyrs for a national conference. I knew it would be a good day and would probably be a blessing. But, I was so moved beyond tears that I’ve had a hard time even settling down enough to try and describe it. Seriously, this is my third attempt at trying to put it into words.
I was a little taken aback by the fact that you couldn’t have cameras. It drove home the reality that some of these people have to be careful because of the dangerous persecution that they could be under or could put others from their own countries under by association with them. I would try to describe to you all of the wonderful, moving and heart wrenching stories these people shared, but it would take all day, and it did while we were there.
We were impressed and amazed by a young, beautiful woman who goes into the dangerous jungles of Columbia with her father to spread the gospel. She was fearless and full of faithful confidence in her Lord. Wow, to have that boldness. Then there was the gentleman from China who shared story after story of persecution of the Chinese. Not stories from the past, but stories that are going on today, now in our world as we are going about our day.
Our children had quite a treat too. The staff at Voice of the Martyrs had created a whole underground church for them out of boxes that were painted. There was a secret tunnel to get inside there and even a prison cell. Several of the speakers talked to them as well. My girls were so impressed by Gracia Burnham, Tom White and the Columbian missionary’s daughter. They got to make parachutes for the Columbians to drop over the jungle delivering radios set to Christian stations and Bible tracts. They told me later that it was great and almost better than Bible School, which is a lot in my girls’ opinions. I was truly impressed with the level of excellence that the children’s program delivered.
Then of course there was Gracia Burnham. The one who drew me to the conference in the first place. Meeting the Pioneer woman a few weeks back was fantastic and exciting. However, meeting Gracia was humbling, convicting, inspiring and just flat out awesome. Not because of her alone, but because of what she has done through Christ. I most certainly don’t ever wish to have the schooling of faith that she has been through, but I yearn so greatly to be so usable for Christ in such an amazing way. Her ongoing prayer for those who were her captives is admirable as is her testimony of the entire event and how God has worked in her life since. 2nd man was impressed that even after all this time and multiple chances to share her testimony and so forth, she still gets moved by talking about her late husband and his testimony. She challenged us to pray more and do more.
2nd man and I had to go out to the car at the break that followed and just debrief a little. Are we doing enough? Does God really want us here? Or does he want us to go? Where? Japan? Africa? Philippines? South America? We’ve always tried to pray that we’d be willing to go wherever he leads. But are we really meaning it? Do we need a supernatural sign or a swift kick out of the plane to go? Or does God just expect us to do it?
One thing we know for sure is that wherever we are we need to be doing more no matter if we’re being called away or made to stay. Honestly, it sometimes feels like we’re spending our time trying to convince Christian teens to act like Christians. Not to mention ourselves, and all the adults around us too. We are such a spoiled people here that we can get caught up and passionate, but it feels like it’s usually about our own selves instead of the souls of others.
I found myself today praying so passionately for those Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are in prisons or captivity around the world today and truly being able to enter into their needs. What sweet time I was able to spend with the Lord and feeling like I was doing something, fighting for something in a real way not just routine. How freeing it feels to be able to truly commune with God and have a real sense that he is there, listening and responding. It’s almost like a part of my faith had been missing, lost in my utter selfishness. For all of the complaints I have about life and little worries from day to day, I hope God will forgive and still use me or at least my family in some way to further his kingdom. Across the world Christians are facing death of body by some terrorist or evil government, while we here in America are only asked to face death of self and so many (myself included) are unwilling to face that kind of death.
|Gracia Burnahm and me after I’d been crying most of the day .
On a lighter note I have to give you my impression of meeting Gracia Burnham and her daughter too. Can you say gracious? Just like her name suggests. I found myself just melting into her arms at first. Here was my big chance to say all these wonderful thoughts about her and I was like a blubbering idiot. Really, I’m so embarrassed by it. I wanted to explain how I’d heard about her book from a missionary’s wife that was going into a persecuted nation and how it had touched me so deeply. How I had left off all that I was supposed to do that day and just read through the entire book in one sitting etc. But, there I stood feeling so overwhelmed by inadequacy that thankfully 2nd man stepped in and saved the day. He started talking with her and they were like old friends. She was so engaging and didn’t act like she was in a hurry to get away or anything. She signed both of my books and hugged me again. Wow!! Sometimes you meet people like this and they want to be that way, but they’re just time constrained and too many people are around all wanting a piece of them so they are almost forced to act standoffish. But she didn’t I was so honored to have bent her ear and to have my children meet her too! Oh, I pray the impression will be burnt in their minds and memories.