“For I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11 is often misquoted, but these words came to my mind recently and brought me such comfort and confidence. God knows His plans for us. Sounds cliché doesn’t it? But that’s the bottom line.
This month Tom and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary! Looking back, we can’t help but laugh at the plans we had back in 1980. Some of you know this funny story, but in our pre-marital counseling we asked our Pastor to show us in the Bible where it said we had to have children – because we didn’t plan to have any kids! Four beautiful daughters later (not to mention our four wonderful son-in-laws and, to-date, seven grandchildren), we now know God had different plans.
We lived in Columbus, Ohio for the first half of our marriage and we didn’t plan on leaving. Tom was a business leader and finance guy and I was a very content stay-at-home mom with a very lived-in mini-van. Then one day we went on a missions trip to Papua New Guinea. That trip changed the plan. Not God’s, of course, but it radically changed ours.
We came to South Africa in 2001 to be church planters, and we still are, but that’s not all. Now, Tom is Regional Director for Southern Africa. What has that changed, you ask? Well, in the last month we were in Mozambique for a nine-day survey trip with our missionary partners from Brazil. From there, we flew to Durban, South Africa for a week of ministry with our ABWE Team. Then we were off to Hermanus for three days, leaving two days later for George, South Africa for a leadership conference with our Team there, and then we returned home to host another leadership conference in Cape Town with Lt. General Loren Reno. I’m actually a little tired just thinking about it!
We were flying to Durban on the day of our anniversary and I looked at Tom and said, “It’s a good thing on our wedding day I promised to follow you anywhere.” (Ruth 1:16 was my chosen verse for our ceremony.) I think it’s safe to say that all this traveling was not what I had planned!
What I do know is this – before the beginning of time God prepared the good works He planned for us. (Eph. 2:10) Wow, even as I’m writing, I’m still amazed at the thought. It’s comforting to me now because we are working hard to lead ABWE in opening new ministries in the country of Mozambique, and guess what? We don’t know how God plans pull it off! So, back to the reason for this Blog post – the comfort and security we have ultimately comes from knowing that He knows, and that He will lead us to what He wants us to do.
As for now, we have seen the great needs of Mozambique and we have been called to reach the nations. From South Africa, we are in a wonderful position to join our partners from Brazil to equip and prepare people to serve there. And most importantly, we serve a God who has all the resources we need and promises that He will provide!
No, we don’t currently have the full plan in hand, but we are praying for wisdom and guidance. Won’t you join us in praying to the one who “knows the plans He has for us,” for those who are willing to go? Pray that they will respond just like Abraham did when God said “Go…to the land I will show you,” and then “Abram went…” (Gen. 12:1, 4).
We believe that disciple makers are needed to train pastors and leaders, teach English as a second language, serve in orphanages, train youth and children’s ministry leaders. There’s also a need for those who are able to teach basic health care, farming, how to start a business, and the list goes on…
We covet your prayers as we together mobilize South Africans, Brazilians and Americans to reach Mozambique…For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord!