During the ramp up of the Clark Co. Ohio community marriage initiative in from late summer 2003 throughout 2004 (until the culmination of the project in a public signing of a covenant by clergy) staff and pastors convened on Wednesday mornings to pray. It was clear to us (Jill and I) that more and better for marriage in our community would come against spiritual strongholds that would not fall or be pushed back except by the power of prayer.
Every 7am prayer meeting began with worship. I put a CD w/ a mix in the computer and selected shuffle. And every session, the computer selected "He Reigns" as part of the sequence of songs for the morning. If you aren't familiar, the Newsboys lyrics basically indicate that the Gospel is for every culture and every nation in the world. We raised our eyebrows in surprise as it became suspicious that the Holy Spirit was mixing the songs with purpose; that He was calling our attention to something bigger than an initiative for just this community.
As the plot unfolded, and Marriage Savers Clark County morphed into Marriage Resource Center of the Miami Valley under the superb leadership of Lavern and Ronda Nissley and staff the Lord's direction became a bit more clear. Jill and I were led to Maryland to share what we'd learned with others, Lavern was tapped for wisdom from directors around the country, David and Teresa Mabry served and learned for a time before taking a church in Columbus where they share what they learned in Springfield, and on it goes...God's way of disseminating life-giving and marriage-saving information and skills.
This summer, eight years after saying yes to more and better for Clark County marriage and family, friends in S. Asia have invited us to visit them, and to share some things we've learned, and friend's here are supporting the venture.
Last Saturday evening a gathering of these precious friends enjoyed curry chicken, apple/mango chutney, naan bread, basmati rice and Texas sheet cake (which one doesn't belong?) made with love, from scratch. And then they prayed...over every aspect of this trip. Here's a bit of one participant's review:
After visiting on the deck there was a prayer time...all gathering around Jeff and Jill...putting hands on them and blessing their visit to friends in India...I've never experienced anything like it...the praying was so simple and plain and covered all things that they may encounter...
That was a humbling, and very encouraging experience! Just as humbling is the $ support that has been voluntarily contributed for this trip. It just keeps coming! Ultimately it is an expression of love for those with whom we will share our lives in a few short weeks for a duration of three weeks! To go with purpose, loved, befriended and supported has been an awesome faith-building experience, and we're sure there is more to come.
Less than a decade ago we barely dreamed of the possibility of such an adventure. All we knew is that we said 'yes' to a persistent request from God to participate in development of more and better for marriages in this community. But we should have been suspicious, I suppose. After all, He is the God of all creation, and His children are scattered everywhere!
What is He asking from you? And what have you said? Or what will you say? The choice is to play it safe and say no, or to dare to say yes and see where it leads. Each of us have opportunity now to participate in God's plan and purposes. Whether we say yes or no, He'll get it done. The question is whether or not we will be among those who enjoy the adventure and thrill of imparting Him and His ways to others, or whether we'll be observers to cheer for others.
But while overseas is adventurous and romantic, the opportunities are here, on our path every day. What is it that He has been speaking to you about, or what have you been invited to do that you are considering? How will you decide if it of Him? Is it something you are passionate about? Have you been prepared for it in some way?
Thanks for reading, and God bless,
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