Clay shares encouragement from 1 Thessalonians and how God is teaching us to trust Him through this journey.
There are moments, quite often to be honest, where I doubt that Hannah and I are truly equipped to move our family to another country where we don’t speak the language and plant a church – something we have no experience doing. Sometimes it all seems quite daunting, and we question if this is a good idea.
Then, I think back to when Chip Miller, our pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Macon, was finishing up his series on 1 Thessalonians. At the conclusion of the letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul affirmed the believers in their endeavors to take the gospel to all people and see the church grow.
He said in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.”
That’s it, a concise verse of only 11 words. No big theological-sounding phrases or long run-on sentences as Paul is known to do. Just 11 simple words – but when they are put together in this order by the Holy Spirit through Paul, they carry immense value and give us a great deal of encouragement.
Pastor Chip summarized the short verse in a profound way. He said,
“all that God calls you to do He will enable you to do.”
At that point in his sermon, Hannah and I looked at each other and immediately knew we were thinking the same thing. We were in the middle of ramping up our support raising journey and 10-month training with Mission to the World, while still working full-time jobs, serving in our church, and doing life with our three boys. Life felt chaotic and exhausting, and frankly, it all seemed too big for us to accomplish.
Then, God graciously gave us this reminder through His sovereignty and the power of the Holy Spirit that because God has called us to serve as missionaries in El Salvador, He will enable us to do so.
Hannah and I were intentional to move slowly through the application, interviews, and evaluation process with Mission to the World.
We wanted to take time to pray and listen for the Lord to be sure this wasn’t a whimsical decision, but rather one we were sure the Lord was calling our family to.
So, we took a year to walk through what could have been done in as little as 3 months, and in the end, we felt we had received affirmation from the Lord many times and in many ways that He was in fact calling our family to foreign missions, and specifically in El Salvador. There were so many provisions and clear signs that gave us assurance to keep moving forward in our endeavors:
- connecting with Rodney and Jana Davila, our team leaders, and the wealth of experience and wisdom they are bringing with them
- being part of a brand new work in El Salvador and loving the idea of building something from the ground up
- taking a site visit and having a great peace about our family living there
- hearing that missionaries already in country with another organization had been praying for a reformed church plant to come to El Salvador for 12 years
And so, we truly believe God is calling our family to this endeavor in El Salvador. And if that is true, then we must also believe the second half of 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “He will surely do it!”
In that moment, sitting halfway back on the left side of our church (our normal seats) it was as if a great weight was lifted.
The burden to work as hard as we could to make it happen wasn’t resting on our shoulders!
God has called us to the harvest fields of El Salvador and God alone will enable us to get there… in His time through His people. Since then, whenever we begin to doubt the feasibility of this journey, we remember those 11 simple words from 1 Thessalonians 5:24, and rather than work harder, we stop and pray and give thanks to a God of great provision and grace.
We serve a God who is able to do far more than we could ever think or pray! We give thanks and pray for each of you as you are all part of our family’s endeavor. You are the ones God has raised up to enable us to GO!
There is a calling on your life – many in fact. He has called you to follow Christ, and maybe he has called you to be a husband, wife, mother, father, friend, employee, business owner, church member, along with many other roles.
No matter what God has called you to, and no matter how difficult or unequipped you may feel, you can take great comfort in knowing that “He who has called you is able, he will surely do it.”
We can have confidence in and through Christ to accomplish anything, because we know that we don’t have to do it on our own. God has promised to provide all we need for whatever roles, tasks, challenges, or adventures he has called us to!
We are praising God for his provision and for each of you!