It’s amazing how the Lord has connected us with mission fields internationally and domestically, as He calls us deeper into our mandate of reaching forgotten people in Appalachia and beyond. Last week for me was just greater confirmation that we are headed in the right direction and following Jesus’s leadership the best we can.
In the span of 10 days I had the privilege of doing outreach in McCreary County, KY, Clinton County KY, and Reynosa Mexico. It was an intense, but also an incredible time of seeing Holy Spirit show up with power in very broken places, through and among very wonderful, but equally, common people. I know it was further confirmation that when you show up in obedience, you give space for God to work incredible miracles. Despite all my human flaws, Jesus showed up and performed countless signs and miracles to confirm His love and gospel, that myself, and the folks that were with me, preached to the best of our abilities. It's a humbling reminder that the most important thing we can do is continue to say, “Yes” to the call and show up where God expects us to be. As it’s been said, “Showing up is half the battle.” I believe that Scripture teaches us, when we do show up in obedience to the Lord, He takes care of the other half of the fight and beyond.
Because time is limited and there are only so many words that can be said at Sunday Morning Services. I wanted to share with you some of the testimonies from the 10 day period of outreach that probably won't be in any upcoming sermons. These stories further demonstrate God’s power when we go and show up where He tells us too. Let these simple testimonies be proof that God is not waiting for us to be qualified for His call, He is simply just waiting for us to show up where He has called us.
In Clinton County Ky, we spent the morning knocking on doors, passing out Bibles and praying for people who would let us. At the third or fourth door we knocked on, a gentleman answered who was less than excited to see us when he noticed the Bibles in our hands. Nevertheless, he didn’t slam the door on us. Instead, without saying a word, he angrily spun around and retreated into his house out of sight, leaving the door wide open. A woman in the home stepped into the doorway in his place and sheepishly greeted us. We introduced ourselves and gave her the Bible, which she received well. We then asked her if there was anything we could pray for her about. She replied, “Yes, absolutely”. She was fighting back tears as she explained how she was trying to maintain her sobriety and could use prayer because she had tried to get sober many times before and had always failed and relapsed on the 45th day. I asked how long she had been sober this time? She immediately responded 43 days today, and she was worried that she would fail any day now. I asked if she had a relationship with Jesus and she said, “No”. Talk about showing up at the right time in the right place. I explained that Jesus not only saves our souls but also gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome addiction and sin in our lives. After explaining the simple gospel to her in this way, we then asked her if she would like to receive Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. She told us that she didn't feel ready to receive Jesus because her life was a mess. We explained that truthfully we all were a mess and coming to Jesus with our messes is the best way to invite Him into our lives. She agreed and received Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Spirit that day. We gave her our church contact info and told her when she was ready and willing, we could help her get started in a rehabilitation program. Hallelujah! That same day we also watched Jesus heal a woman who suffered terrible pain in her body from fibromyalgia. All we can take credit for, is showing up to where He called us.
In Reynosa Mexico, as we were sharing the gospel and praying for people in a Tent Community of refugees who are stuck at the border. A woman popped out of her tent, as we were praying for a family from Honduras. “Are you praying for people?” she asked. “Yes ma'am”, we replied. She said, “Good, I need prayer!” She hopped up out of her tent and asked us to pray for her son who was sick and hospitalized in Texas with a life threatening condition. She had been trying to cross the border to be with him, but couldn’t, and because of limited communication with him, she was worried. We immediately began to pray. The power of God began to overwhelm her as she wept and shook under the weight of His glory. This went on for 20 minutes or so before someone said, “Amen”. Before we hugged and left, one of the team members felt the Lord had given them a word of knowledge for the woman and stopped to ask her if she had pain in her abdomen. “Yes,'' she replied, “for 7 months I have been stuck in this Tent Community with excruciating pain in my stomach and abdomen. It hurts right now.” Without hesitation, the team member who received the word of knowledge, prayed for healing. The woman was healed instantly and wept as we hugged her and said, “Goodbye”. All we can take credit for, is showing up to where He called.
In McCreary County KY, we spent the day knocking on doors in the communities of Pine Knot and Sterns. It was a great day where the presence of God showed up faithfully, time and time again, as we went where He led. Towards the end of the day, we knocked on the door of a home where a man answered, who seemed visibly angry at the fact that we were at his home. It seemed we may have showed up at the wrong time. Before we could say anything or introduce ourselves, he immediately began to tell us this was his home and we couldn't make him leave. You could imagine our confusion. Despite his angry welcome, we introduced ourselves and told him we were just there to offer him a free New Testament Bible. Still irritated, but less angry, he looked at the Bible and said, “No thank you”, because he only read the King James translation. We told him no problem at all, but we still wanted to pray for him if he was willing. His composure softened as he explained we could pray for him and his home. He told us recently his landlord had sold the property his house was on and was told he had to vacate, as soon as possible. Being older, at this point in his life, he couldn't stomach the thought of moving again. Especially, from this specific plot of land because it was the lot he had grown up on before his parents sold it. To his surprise we told him we wanted to pray right then and there for his housing situation. He melted as the presence of God showed up. One of us sensed the Lord prompting us to ask him if he had any pain in his body. He said, “Yes”. He has always had a major headache because of a spine condition he was born with. We asked if we could pray for that and he agreed. We prayed and the pain left. The man was speechless as he realized Jesus just healed him through a couple of goofy people, he was just yelling at a few moments before. God is good and He does mighty things. All we can take credit for, is showing up to where He called.
There are many other stories I could tell you, from those last couple of days, but I think I have sufficiently made my point. There will always be critics and cynical people who will be trying to refute and argue against God’s willingness to heal and perform miracles today. I’m ok with that, because other people's doubt and skepticism can’t stop me or this church from just showing up and expecting God to move, where He calls us. So, thank you for saying, “Yes” to the call and showing up week in and week out, to support the vision God has laid upon us. I know there is much more to come and as we continue forward in obedience to Him, we will see and do things we never dreamed of!