A Change Of Plans: Or So We Thought

(from the pages of the mission journal for the recent trip Oct. 2013)

While in Torrit one late Saturday night, the pastors planned for going out to and speaking at different remote church plants the next morning. Visiting these new churches would provide our team with an opportunity to see and experience all the amazing things God is doing through these wonderful missionary pastors. As we discussed which pastors would go where, Thor leaned toward me and said I should be prepared to speak in case he could not. He had developed a very sore throat from the days of training in Ethiopia, and his room also had lots of mold in it from the shower. The team wanted to be cautious because Thor was scheduled to train in Torrit as well.

So that night I asked God what He wanted me to share with His children. He brought to mind the verses in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12, where it teaches us that the church is like a body which has many parts. Each part is valuable and when one part of the body is sick or injured, then the whole body suffers. Every member is dependent on the other.

The next morning the team got up early for breakfast. This was so we wouldn’t be late for our rides to the remote church plants. After breakfast, Thor and I waited for our ride, but it didn’t come. Martin, our wonderful coordinator in Torit, soon pulled up and explained that there was a miscommunication, and that he would arrange a ride to another local church in town.

A few minutes later, Pastor Tito pulled up and gave us a ride to the church. Along the way we quickly learned that Tito was a master church planter and disciple maker. He was filled with wisdom and passion, with a heart for helping the community and mentoring leaders.
Before the service, Thor mentioned that he would be okay to speak, but that he would give me 20 minutes to share. Before we got up to speak, the church had a wonderful time of praise and worship. The youth were singing and dancing. The songs were full of life and God’s presence.
It was beautiful!

As worship went on, the thought popped into my head that this service and group of people are so unified – do they really need to be taught on unity and being one body? I began to question if I should even speak at all. But then God gently reminded me to trust Him and not to question what He had given me to share.

So when it was time, I got up and spoke what He gave me. It was like He was filling my mouth with His words, and I could definitely feel His presence. Thor spoke about Zacheus and how God had a divine appointment for him. It was really good.

After we finished speaking, Tito got up to speak. He turned toward Thor and I and said that the word God gave me was the same message and verses that God had given him to preach. He was so excited that God would confirm His word by two men who came from another country and weren’t even scheduled to speak.

It still amazes me to this day how God can change our plans into His plans. It is just another reminder that He is God everywhere – in the U.S., in Africa – it doesn’t matter. He is not limited by our plans or our abilities. Instead, He orchestrates our steps and provides what we need to be obedient to His will. We just have to trust His character.

A man’s heart plans his way,
but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9