In 2000, having been challenged to assemble a mission team to travel to Nicaragua in a short nine weeks, I immediately declined the challenge. I had the usual excuses, too short a period of time and not within my comfort zone to begin with. In the interest of brevity, I will only say that God had other plans and within 24 hours of being challenged I found myself assembling a mission team.
On our departure date the team consisted of nine members, only two of which already possessed passports. The remaining seven of us had to have our photos taken and apply for our passports within the short nine week window before our departure on Friday, April 28th. On a Friday, a week preceding our departure, five of our team had received their passports in the mail while two team members were still anxiously waiting.
The following Monday I learned that one of them had received her passport that morning. I also heard that the other person, Mike, had not yet received his passport.
I phoned Mike’s home that afternoon and, as I waited for Mike to come to the house phone, I was thinking about what I should say to reassure him. Regretfully I couldn’t think of any reassuring words because I too was concerned. So I took the few seconds I had, as I waited for Mike, and silently prayed something like, “Lord, Mike needs words of reassurance and I don’t have the words. Please speak through me the words that Mike badly needs to hear”.
Mike picked the phone up, and after our greetings were spoken, I told him that I had heard that his passport hadn’t arrived yet. Mike said that it was true and that he was concerned about letting the church people down after they had contributed funds to get him onto the trip. It was then that I opened my mouth and these words literally fell out of it. “Mike! Don’t worry about it. Your passport will be here Wednesday.”
In my mind I screamed, “WHAT DID I JUST SAY?” The realization of what I had spoken frightened me. For a moment I couldn’t catch my breath, a pause in our conversation occurred as neither of us seemed able to speak. Finally, a small voice in the back of my head whispered, “Its okay, go with it.”
Having no other idea of what to say I continued with, “Mike, did you hear what I said?” Mike said that he had and we spoke a while longer as I asked him to have faith that his passport would arrive before we left.
On Wednesday morning, April 26, 2000, shortly after 10:30 AM I received an email from Mike’s mother saying that the passport had arrived in the morning’s mail. We boarded our flight to Nicaragua two days later.
I did tell Mike the rest of the story behind what I had spoken a few days into our trip.
Some takeaways from this experience:
God absolutely hears our prayers.
God does answer our prayers.
Your unwillingness to do something may not be what God wants and he has a way of telling you so if you are willing to listen.
It was God’s idea that this mission team be assembled and he was, and is, faithful in moving things in the directions of his visions.
Don’t ask God to speak through you unless you mean it, he may use words that you are unprepared for.
If caught in a situation in which you don’t know how to respond, and you hear a whisper speaking to you, pay attention and “go with it”.