Wednesday, November 21

When was the last time you asked God to stretch your faith?

The Guayas Mestizo Team meets every Monday from 4-7pm to pray, talk about God and the ministry, discuss projects, strategize, plan, share, structure programs...you name it, we do it on Monday afternoons!

The "GMT" currently consists of eleven people: three IMB missionaries, and eight nationals.

This past Monday, team member, Marlene, shared that in their house church this past week they had agreed to ask God to "stretch their faith" and allow them to see His intervention in their lives in a difficult situation (pretty risky request if you ask me!) Marlene shared that for several days nothing happened in her life to really stretch her faith. She dreaded not having anything to share with her church next time they met.

This past weekend, Marlene's nephew got sick. As is the custom here when a loved one needs medical attention, the family pools their resources to help pay the needed medical costs. Marlene had received $60 from her family to purchase the needed medications. She stuck the money in her jeans pocket and headed off to the pharmacy. When it was time to pay, she stuck her hand in her pocket, but the money was GONE! The money must have accidentally fallen out. Marlene quickly left the pharmacy and retraced her steps. With the crowds on the street there was little chance the money would still be found.

After walking awhile, she saw in the distance a woman reach down and pick up what was clearly the money she had dropped. Marlene's heart dropped as she saw the woman doing the Catholic "sign of the cross" in gratitude to God for her good fortune--$60 (about 2-weeks wages)!!!

Marlene was crushed at being so close to retrieving her money and yet how was she to convince the woman it was the money she had dropped? As she approached the woman, Marlene remembered that the church had agreed to ask God to "test their faith" in order to see the power of God at work. She boldly approached the woman and told her that the money she had found belonged to her and to please give it back. Expecting a confrontation, or at least an argument, Marlene was surprised that the woman simply gave back the money without incident. This kind of thing simply doesn't happen here! Marlene's faith had been tested and God had once again proven in a very real way that He indeed takes care of his own.

Team member, Pedro, was next...

He shared he had won to the Lord a man and wife infected with HIV. Their youngest of four children is also infected. "Luis" has no work and spends most of his days too sick to even get out of bed. He and his wife have no medical help. They live in extreme poverty. Even so, Pedro and the believers in his house church do what they can to help Luis and his family. Pedro personally travels across town each week to disciple the young couple in their new-found faith. Pedro reports they even though they are physically weak, their spirits are vibrant and their faith strong.

Recently, Luis was very ill and dwindled down to around 80 lbs. He could barely get out of bed, but insisted on going out into the city and try to find something to feed his family with that day. His wife thought he was crazy, but Luis told her, "God always provides."

Luis went out and stood on a street corner where a man was selling pirated CDs. A buyer bought a couple of CDs and paid with a $5 bill. The owner of the "business" didn't have change so Luis offered to watch over his merchandise while he went to find some change. Luis assured him he was a Christian and that nothing would happen while he was gone. The customer heard him and told Luis he was also a Christian.

When the owner returned with the change, the customer gave the $3 change to Luis. He explained that God had impressed upon him, even before buying the CDs, that he was to give the change to the first person that he came in contact with after the purchase. Luis was that person! Luis was overjoyed in the Lord. God had provided him with enough to feed his family for one more day.

This Thanksgiving as we gather with friends and loved ones to give thanks for the bountiful blessings we enjoy, let us remember Christ's words in Matthew 6,

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
...So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


When was the last time you asked God to stretch your faith?

5 comments:

Dorcas Hawker said...

Well, I didn't really ask, but I think God decided to go ahead and stretch me a little anyway. :)

Thanks for these stories, what encouraging examples of God's provision when there is absolutely nothing we can do to control the situation.

Dorcas

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Guy,

These are great stories, brother. Thanks for sharing them.

Congratulations for your emphasis on prayer. Kudos to you and your team; but more important, glory to God.

When is the last time I asked God to stretch my faith? It hasn't been that long ago. I would love to share my story, but I don't have permission to do so.

KDS

GuyMuse said...

Dorcas and Kevin,

My own faith is constantly challenged by the lives of my fellow brothers and sisters here. They live in a far greater dependence upon God for everything in their lives than I ever even think about.

Oswald Chambers writes, Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound...

Dorcas, I know you have been going through your own set of trials (I read your blog!) and would pray that your faith be strengthened. You are not alone in your trials!

Kevin, I have no idea of what you are referring to about your own story and faith being stretched, but also ask that God would continue to fulfill His perfect will in your lives and that your faith would be strengthened.

james hastings said...

Guy,

Hello from the UK. I came across your blog while out blogwandering.
Wonderful stories. Christians need to relate more like this. They are the fuel of evangelism.
A friend in the UK told me of the time she spent 12 months in Panama as a student. A warden in the hostel where she lived was going blind with cateracts. She had saved $3,000 to move to Florida to be with her son, but she wouldn't be allowed in in her present condition. If she spent the $3,000 on an opertaion, it would take her years to save it again.
My friend told her director at the Bible college where she was studying. Her immediate response was 'let's ask the woman if we can pray for her.' The woman agreed.
They went, laid hands and prayed for healing, rather than pray the Lord would heal.
The following morning, the warden came running into the hostel, screaming and laughing. She had woken that morning able to see clearly. She'd rushed to her doctor who examined her and couldn't find any trace of cateracts.
Miracles happen everyday, here in the UK, with you in Ecudor and with elderly wardens living in hostels in Panama.

Blessings

James

GuyMuse said...

James,

Thanks for sharing this story, and for stopping by the "M Blog". Indeed God is doing wonderful things throughout the earth!