Wednesday, March 30, 2011

in which my husband, the missionary and guest poster, writes.

i am proud to invite you to read about chris's trip to ghana. i love this guy. just saying.

Hello blog world. I am a guest. This is my first post. I am a guest poster.

On March 17th I returned home after a two-week trip to Ghana. I’m delighted to tell you about it.

I went to Ghana with a friend if mine, and it was our
plan to meet up with a Ghanaian pastor and travel to several towns and villages for daily preaching. I thought that I’d be preaching every other day to hundreds, or at least dozens of people. That was my plan, but God had something else in mind.

It appears that God’s plans are better than mine. Hmm.

On our trip...

We had car trouble. LOTS of car trouble. A hole in the radiator, worn(out) brake pads, flat tire, loose tail pipe, leaking exhaust manifold, and a faulty ignition switch (which three mechanics in three different towns looked at but did not fix, although they replaced- and charged us for another “repair” of their choosing). We spent many hours standing in the heat at mechanics’ shops.

I had problems with my back for a couple days and consequently had to stay at the hotel instead of going to church, where I was to preach.

It was HOT! At least 90 degrees every day, and we received afternoon or evening thunderstorms three times- twice preventing us from preaching, and giving us more time at the hotel.

Doesn’t sound like much of a mission trip, huh? But here’s what God did:

Because of our car trouble one day, I found myself sitting beside a Muslim man who happened to be at the shop visiting his mechanic friend. He wasn’t getting his car fixed- he was just hanging around. We got to talking about life, work, family, etc. He asked what I was doing in Ghana, and my response of “Christian missionary” led to a lengthy discussion on Islam and Christianity. He was ready with all his learned “problems” with the Bible, but he admitted he had never read it himself. He was not even all that familiar with the Koran. We talked about heaven, and how to get there through each of our faiths. When I told him of the assurance of salvation that born-again Christians have through Jesus, compared to the be-good-and-hope-for-the-best approach to pleasing Allah, he seemed moved. By his reaction and countenance it was apparent he’d never considered this before. I left knowing that I had planted a seed for the Lord, and thanking God for faulty brakes.

Several days later my back pain forced me to lie flat on my bed while the other two men went to church Sunday morning. Around 11:00 I was feeling good enough to walk around some, and on the street in front of the hotel I ran into Calvin, a 28 year old backslidden Catholic. (there are many Catholic churches in Ghana, mostly teaching a works righteousness.) His eyes were red from a night of drinking, but he seemed eager to talk. Again, I was asked why I was in Ghana. I told him of our work traveling around preaching the gospel. At one point he said, “Will you tell me the gospel?” I thought to myself, “Wow, is it that easy?!” So I stood there in that street telling him about the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man. We talked about love and repentance and grace. He was broken. I could tell. Another seed planted. Thank you God, for my backache. And to think I asked Him to take it away so I could go to church.

Another incident at that same hotel:

We had some time to ourselves one afternoon (I can’t remember why), so I went for a walk. About 1/4 mile from the hotel three teenage boys were sitting under a shelter, and they called to me. Once more I was asked why I was I Ghana. I told them, and one of them said, “What’s so special about the Gospel?” I sat down. I stayed there for an hour, explaining the gospel, answering their questions, listening to their stories. By the time I left there were nine of them there, and all of them wanting to listen to the Lord’s message through me!! I could have stayed for hours. It was such a thrill.

I sat beside Jaren on the plane on the way home. (Actually there was an empty seat between us.) She’s a 24 year old graduate assistant doing research in Ghana. In our conversation (during our 11 hour flight) we talked about many things, and eventually got around to discussing religion. She’s an evolutionist/agnostic type, with no knowledge of the Bible. I asked her what she thought about the afterlife, and she said she had no opinion- said she doesn’t think about it. Then, she asked me what I thought about the afterlife. Again, an opportunity to witness presented on a platter! I shared the Gospel, which she had NEVER HEARD BEFORE. I told her my testimony, about my transformation- my conversion. It didn’t seem to have much impact on her while I was sharing. But twice, several minutes after our conversation had given way to silence, she asked about my conversion experience. She wanted to know more. I could tell she had began to search.

Later, as she gave me a wave good-bye at the airport baggage claim, the look in her eyes just said “thank you.” No. Thank you, Jesus.

Now, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t lead any of these people in a salvation prayer. It seemed I was not there to witness their conversion. God led me there merely to tell them the story of Jesus. To share the Gospel. To plant a seed in their hearts. God allowed me to do that, and then I left them on their own them to wrestle, and search, and ponder. And hopefully, eventually, to surrender their lives to Christ. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to the hearts of these people.

By the way, I did get to preach twice during the trip, and several people responded to the invitations. Praise the Lord!!

Praise God for His wonderful plans!! For His wisdom and timing, and for His sovereignty. I praise Him for allowing me to be a part in taking His story to the nations.

In your prayers tonight, please remember these people.

Thank you, and may God bless you,

chris

if you would like to repsond to chris directly, his email is sirhcettevirp@hotmail.com. and of course, he is facebookable!

kp

still linking up with the end-of-the-week linky ladies!

emily for imperfect prose
christy for as of late
beki at the rusted chain for fingerprint friday
michelle for caffeinated randomness
studio jru for sneak peek friday
jennifer v. davis

24 comments:

  1. I have a family friend who does ministry in Ghana who always says, "Everything's harder in Ghana." What amazing gifts you were given, seeing God work through your back pain and other hard things, giving you abundant opportunities to plant those seeds. "God led me there merely to tell them the story of Jesus. To share the Gospel. To plant a seed in their hearts." Merely? What a privilege!

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  2. i love it when God's got something even better up His sleeve. awesome post, chris. awesome trip.

    ps i read a neurotic number of africa missionary blogs, and the car trouble + gospel conversations seems to be an underlying theme. :)

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  3. I love it when God wrecks our plans. Well, let me rephrase that: I love it when I look back on it. Unfortunately I tend to put up a quite a fight at first. It was great hearing about your divine mission..... what could have been seen as "plan B" but surely was planned all along by Him!

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  4. I needed to read this tonight. Thanks for posting Kendal and thanks for sharing Chris. God bless you both! To Him be the glory.

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  5. I spent 4.5 years temping at a large studio in many departments none of which held any longterm appeal to me. When I would get frustrated at the uncertainty, the lack of career advancement (well, frankly the lack of career), the low pay and the lack of benefits I could look around and see people-beautiful, wonderful, broken, lost people-who needed me to love them and when asked to explain the reason for my hope. When I look back on those years my greatest memories are of loving on people.

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  6. oh! i love this. thank you Jesus for story-sharing and Story-sharing.

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  7. Oh, how I love stories like yours! God is so good, and He knows exactly what He is doing, even when we think we know better! I will pray for these people, that these seeds will grow and bear fruit.

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  8. Chris (and Kendal!),
    I loved this post about the way God uses all the interuptions in plans to make His big plan come together. A broken down car, a hurt back, a seat on a plane. . .all things you were to experience. It makes me think about my life and all of the frustrations I have when things don't go my way.

    Also, great, great pic at the top of the page.

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  9. You know, it just never ceases to amaze me how God wants the Gospel to be shared intimately. So many times, I think people are frightened by the "big events" and shy away. So, God carves out time for them, too. In those one-on-one meetings, that seem, only to the outsider, like a coincidence.

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  10. Reading these stories of accidental witnessing brought a big smile to my face. God uses powerfully these things that we see as hindrances.

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  11. It sounds like you had a pretty profound trip. Keep it in your heart. Those moments are special and sometimes have something more to share with you again later.

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  12. So inspired by reading this. It brings tears to my eyes as I think of my missionary friend who died on the field in Malaysia last summer. She came home with so many stories of God's power in His ability to save the lost, heal the sick. May the seeds you planted in Ghana be watered and grow to produce sweet fruit for Him.

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  13. thank God for faulty breaks, bachaches and thunderstorms and empty seats and yes I am praying that the seeds of His love and forgiveness will fall on fertile soil and not be choked out...thank you for being obedient to go and for not beat down by our enemy but instead looking for God in the moment and seeing what He wanted you to do. So often we don't do that. He almost always has a different plan than we think;) loved hearing from you...

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  14. Life with KaishonApril 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Oh WOW! This is so beautiful. He got to share the story. The story is a perfect seed. I hope those seeds will grow and he will see these people in heaven one day. Thanks for sharing this. I loved it!

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  15. Thank you for sharing...I love real-life stories of the amazing ways that God works and moves right here on earth. Awesome!

    Will be praying for the seeds to grow.

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  16. Jennifer_StudioJRUApril 1, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    What an amazing and wonderful experience to plant these seeds. Beautiful story Chris. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing! The awesome plans and power of God are so evident, and the willingness to be obedient to Him in the seemingly ordinary mess of life giving way to divine encounters with so many that may not have heard the gospel yet, if not for these "problems"...

    Blessings!

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  18. chris, you are awesome! i love your heart! the way God uses/d you in your weakness... great post, friend. kendal, thank you for sharing your husband with us :)

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  19. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing

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  20. Awesome story! It's amazing how God puts us in just the right place at just the right time, and uses us in ways we don't expect. ♥

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  21. God can use ANYTHING-even what looks like unfortunate circumstances! Our God is amazing. I will pray for them, too!

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  22. just look what our GOD can do!

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  23. Thanks for sharing all this! Amazing to hear about Chris' experience in Ghana. I keep up with your blog thanks to my Aunt Donna who sent it to me. Happy beautiful day!

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  24. how wonderful to see God work even in the midst of challenges!

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