What a blessing beyond words.
In my freshman year of Bible College, I sat in a chapel meeting and heard an update from a gentleman representing New Tribes Mission. He told us about two missionaries to the Philippines, Martin and Gracia Burnham. They had been captured by Muslim extremists and after over a year of being taken captive, Martin was killed in a firefight. He was a missionary pilot. I sat in the pew that day and thought to myself, unaware fully what a missionary pilot was, that I wanted to be the one to take his place. The phrase “stand in the gap” had been frequently used in Christian circles at the time, I think it was made popular by the Promise Keepers movement. That is what I wanted to do, “stand in the gap” for one of God’s own who had ‘arisen’ in the line of duty. That was 15 years ago.
About three weeks ago, I received an envelope in the mail from the Voices of the Martyrs. To be honest, I thought it was another plea for funds. I was going to throw it away without opening it, but thankfully I did not. I opened it and saw that it was an advertisement for a conference that would be in the area. I saw Gracia Burnham’s name on the flyer and joy instantly came over me. I knew the name but could not honestly remember all the details of her story. I read her short bio and it said “For 17 years, Gracia Burnham and her husband, Martin, served with New Tribes Mission in the Phillipines, where Martin was a jungle pilot.” I was in awe! It was all coming back to me! A missionary pilot!?! Wow! Even back then, the Lord was using their story to prepare me for what He had in my future. I could hardly believe it.
Well, today came. I knew God was at work and that God was going to do something special. I only knew that I wanted to meet Gracia and tell her how her and Martins story inspired me as a freshman in college preparing to be a missionary. What I didn’t expect was to be so gripped by tears most of the time she spoke. I felt such a connection, like I have known her and her husband yet, we had never met. I sense often that the Lord has something large in store for me. Will I face persecution? Will this ministry impact hundreds or even more? I don’t know. What I do know is that we serve an awesome God who is bigger than life itself and He can use whatever means he desires to make His fame known throughout this world. He desires that all come to Him and that no one perish.
Four notable things happened today. 1) I was able to speak with Gracia for about 10 minutes. I was also truly moved by her time of sharing. 2) I met Congressman, Chris Smith. I had been told two times over the summer that I needed to reach out and meet Congressman Smith because he has been combating trafficking in NJ. In God’s providence, he was at the conference today. I stood in line for quite some time and was able to share with he and his secretary of my burden and calling. He said twice that they could “really use my services.” I can almost cry writing this. I can sense that God is about to open the floodgates but after such a long journey, I can only take one step at a time and be held by Him. He has to carry me the rest of the way. I certainly cannot do it on my own. This calling is too big for me. BUT, with GOD ALL things are POSSIBLE. 3) I saw a new friend of mine at the conference and at the end of the day he told me that he wanted to sponsor one hour of flight training for me. I was humbly blessed. At this time, I am not receiving donations directly but he is going to hold the funds until I can receive them. 4) I was blessed to see and share my lunch break with a friend who has a real heart for the Lord and has served in women’s prison ministry for many years. We have had similar spiritual battles so it was nice to be encouraged by her testimony today.
As I sign off, let me encourage each of you today that God is at work. He is at work all across the globe and in the hearts of everyone. Never give up hope for those you love. He will never leave us or forsake us. Rather, He pursues us and His Word never returns empty. It has a purpose in our lives. It is active and alive. Stay strong in the strength that He alone provides.
In His love,