Have you ever been told that you are an answer to prayer? There’s something so beautiful about seeing prayer in action like that, knowing that God heard the prayers of another and your step of obedience was His answer. I’ve experienced this a few times in my life. Specifically, I remember deciding before coming to YWAM that I would spend my first few months working in the kitchen on base. I was following a word from God to “serve.” Chris was already over here in Perth at the time. He shared with me over the phone how he told one of our base leaders about my decision to serve in the kitchen. Her response was, “she’s an answer to prayer.” Somehow, knowing that someone had asked God specifically for more workers in the kitchen solidified my decision even more.
Not only did this small comment help me feel confident in my choice, but through it I already felt connected to the base. I could picture the strings tying them, to God, to me… and I don’t know if there are many greater feelings in the world than feeling connected to God’s people in all different parts of the world.
This week on the Discipleship Training School we’re staffing together, the focus was relationships. The speaker made a comment that resonated deeply with me:
“The greatest miracle is our connection to God and to each other.”
In my short time in missions so far, I’ve witnessed a lot of incredible miracles. I’ve prayed for countless people and watched God heal them in front of my eyes. I’ve experienced the multiplication of food in the YWAM Perth kitchen. I’ve seen spirits and hearts soften as the name of Jesus is spoken over them. But I agree with our speaker in that my fondest memories have been not of signs and wonders, but of relationships.
I think about an elderly woman in Africa who told me that she could tell I loved her, even though we didn’t have the right medicine for her. I think about the beautiful young ladies doing their Discipleship Training School in a small city in India, and the fun we had singing songs in Telegu, telling jokes, and ministering together. I think about the students we’re currently mentoring from all over the world, and how I know I’m already going to miss them like crazy when they leave.
Over these few years, relationships have been many more strings connecting myself to God and to places like Botswana and the Philippines. Not only that, but there are countless relationship strings connecting us back home as you, our friends and family, support us in so many different ways.
This idea has been on my heart over the past few days since we have been fundraising for our upcoming outreach through giving finances. I remember the first time I saw $7000 in my bank account in my early 20’s, and it was the most money I had ever seen at one time. Now, we need that same amount of money in order to be sent to the outback of Australia and to Nepal.
We really are praying for a miracle.
A part of the miracle has come directly from God’s generous hand. God has directed us to cover $4000 from our savings, much of which has come from an inheritance that has sustained us many times during our time in YWAM. But, what I find really interesting is that God doesn’t want us to cover it all on our own. Through His leading, we are reaching out to invite others to partner with us for the remaining $3000.
Whether or not we’re missionaries, God wants us as humanity to depend on each other in different ways. We love and need that connection to the world because we are made for it! For Chris and myself, and for many others, depending on others for money is one of the most vulnerable places to be, especially in a culture that celebrates self-sufficiency.
One thing I love about Jesus is that He submitted Himself to this very human vulnerability, too, in so many different ways. He shared meals in people’s homes. He let others see Him cry. And – did you know – He relied on others for financial support, too! The beginning of the eighth chapter of the book of Luke in the Bible briefly describes a few women who were followers of Jesus and were “helping to support them out of their own means.” Not only did Jesus receive support from others, but from women. How vulnerable in the context of His culture and time!
I know that He didn’t have to live this way, and that’s what blows me away the most. In the book of Matthew, Jesus and His disciple, Peter, needed some money to pay a temple tax. Jesus tells Peter to go and catch a fish and that just the right amount for the tax will be in the fish’s mouth. If it was God’s desire for Jesus to live based on miracles like this, I think it would have happened that way. But the fact that Jesus relied on others and not “money-from-the-sky” miracles gives me such insight into how relational our God is.
It makes so much sense when I think about it, even though it is vulnerable. Depending on each other, giving from our own resources, is one of the ways that connection is built. I can tell you how much of an outpouring of love and gratitude we feel every time we receive a donation. We would certainly be connected to others without these gifts of generosity. However, a financial gift communicates that we’re in this together, and that means a lot when we’re on the other side of the world.
And the connection isn’t only made in one direction. I remember times Chris and I have given financially and felt so much more connected to the people being ministered to through that simple act. We can’t always go, but we can always play a part in what God is doing in the world.
I suppose what I’m really trying to say through this blog is, “thank you.”
Thank you for your obedience to God to pray for us, to message us, and to give financially. Thank you for being the answer to our prayers when we pray for those specific things. Through the connections we have with you in so many different ways, our lives are richer. You are the miracle to us.