I debated accepting. After all, it was only ten minutes. Was it really worth the drive?
As I thought about the invitation to drive to a small town church, I heard a voice reminding me: “Didn’t you ask me to expand your speaking opportunities this year? Maybe it’s more about making connections than speaking.”
So, I accepted, and I’m glad I did.
It was a beautiful day. I love the drive through the countryside, toward East Tennessee. I turned off the radio and said a prayer for the church and asked the Lord to use me…even in ten minutes.
As I was getting settled in the church, I met Kay. It was our first time to meet in person. We were Facebook friends, and yet I couldn’t really remember what the connection was. She asked me: “Do you know why I asked you to be my friend on Facebook?” I told her I didn’t, but was interested in being reminded.
She said: “You commented one day on the post of a mutual friend, and when I saw your name, I immediately thought you were the Carol Brown I knew from college, so I sent you a friend request. You graciously accepted, but then I realized you weren’t that Carol Brown!”
We remained connected on Facebook, and she learned I had been a missionary, wrote for Mission Mosaic magazine, and was an author and speaker. “I knew it was not by chance that we got connected,” she continued, “and I’m so glad you came today. By the way, I’ve invited my Muslim friend to visit and come to lunch afterwards.”
“That’s interesting,” I thought; “wonder what will happen.”
Worship began, and I was really taken by the songs we sang. They lifted my own soul and drew me into God’s presence. Then it was my turn to speak.
I think I was five minutes max. I spoke about the importance of prayer for our missionaries and gave a couple of examples of how much we felt prayers during out time overseas. I reminded them that we are all called to the same task of sharing the gospel and need to be praying for one another as well as those far away.
I did my bit and sat down. The pastor continued with a sermon on intentional evangelism and intentional prayer. It all fit together perfectly.
No public decisions made. I sold one book afterwards.
“Not a great result,” I thought, as I got into the car to go to Kay’s for lunch.
Her Muslim friend pulled up at the same time, and as she got out of the car, I greeted her in Arabic. Her face lit up, and the words poured out.
We continued the conversation in Kay’s kitchen, as lunch was getting ready, and I asked her about her friendship with Kay and the ladies in the church.
“I love them,” she said, “they are not like people in my country. They love me and are good women. I want to be like them.”
I asked her if she knew what the difference was. When no reply came, I told her, “Jesus.”
So that I don’t hinder God’s work in her life or cause any danger to come to her, I won’t tell you all the story, but I can say that she left knowing what she needed to do to be like the women she loved.
I left knowing that nothing is by chance–not a Facebook friendship, not a ten-minute speaking engagement, not a woman who is willing to teach ESL to a new immigrant that came to her town.
We sang the Hillsong United “Oceans” song today. I found it so fitting when it said:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I was so grateful today for women from two different churches in the towns where this woman has lived. They loved and waded into unknown areas with a foreigner because of Jesus. I know God will honor that in their lives and in the life of this one they’ve loved and invested in.
My faith was made stronger today. I pray yours will be as well as you let the Spirit lead you beyond your borders of comfort and complacency. Ten minutes can make a difference for eternity. Don’t miss the blessing of watching God at work.
Grace and Peace