We were scheduled to return to the mission field at the beginning of January. But as the end of the previous year drew to a close, it became obvious that we would not be going in January. Our support was low and not coming up quickly. Therefore, we told our supporters that we would be going in February, Lord willing. But apparently the Lord was not willing because in March we found ourselves in the same place. Support had come up, but not enough. “April! We should certainly be going by April!” I told our supporters. Each month, I got my hopes up that this would be the month and then each month my hopes were dashed. “Certainly this is just a short delay,” I told myself. “The Lord wants us to return to Thailand. That’s where our work is. Our calling. Our ministry. Our life. Why does not God just raise up the money now so we can get back to what we are supposed to be doing???”
The lack of financial support was a bothersome barrier to what we felt the Lord was calling us to do. It was hard to understand why He didn’t take it out of the way. We were doing all the right things that missionaries with a low support problem are supposed to do. We were praying hard that He would provide. We asked our prayer partners to do the same. We contacted churches and made ourselves available for speaking engagements and other forms of ministry. But the support wasn’t coming in. At least not fast enough for our liking.
Eventually our support did come up and we were able to make it back to Thailand by the end of May. In total, we were delayed going back to the field by about five months. It was a frustrating five months as we felt like we were in a holding pattern, always circling but never able to land.
However, as my wife and I now look back over those five months of praying and waiting, we are overcome with a great sense of gratitude and God’s goodness. We had seen our low support as a barrier to getting back to the field and fulfilling God’s call on our life. But there are no barriers to God’s plan... not for God, at least. The Lord of creation is able to brush away in an instant the most impossible obstacle to His plan.
We had thought that our low financial support problem keeping us from fulfilling God’s calling on our lives. But our support problem was God’s way of show us that He still had something for us in the U.S. If God had not forced us to stay at home five months longer than we wanted, then we would have missed a plethora of opportunities that God had for us. We spoke at the missions conference of a church that had dropped our support, and they picked us back up again. We got training in Bible story telling that has great promise for our ministry this coming term. We spent valuable time with a young couple hoping to become missionaries to Taiwan. My wife got a radical new vision for homeschooling from a older mother at church. All these blessings and opportunities would have been missed if we’d gone back to Thailand when we had hoped.
It was frustrating for us to not be able to return to Thailand when we wanted to, but once again God reminded us that He always puts us in exactly the place He wants us to be. Wherever we are, there is something that God has for us there. There are no barriers to God’s plan.