The past five days our family was in Pacolet, South Carolina, for a missions conference. What a missions conference it was! I have never been so blessed. The church, Morning Star Baptist Church is the ideal church with a HEART for missions. Everyone, from leadership right down to the regular church members go out of their way to love missionaries. The warm generous hospitality is always a blessing when you go into a church. Friendliness is a KEY for missionaries to want to stay and continue visiting when in the area. This group of wonderful people definitely have the key of friendliness.
I'm going to be truthful here... last week when I was gathering up the needed items to be packed in suit cases, I was not looking forwarded to going. Some of you know that I really have a hard time being in the midst of crowds and meeting new people. Knowing that I was going to be among 30 other missionary families along with church members and visitors, I began a minor melt down. On Monday night, I told my husband that we needed to not go and just let this year go by without us attending the conference. Of course, his eyes drilled a hole right through me and he said,"Absolutely not, we are going. The Lord allowed everything to work out, so we could attend the whole week and we are going." After this, I began praying. I prayed that the Lord would give me peace and that I would have my heart open to any blessings that He may have for me.
We were able to stay in the home of a young couple. They opened their doors to us as if we were family. I can't believe how the Lord allowed us to be placed in this home. The feeling of welcomeness ( is that even a word? It is today.) was so overwhelming. When you go into someone's home, you know when the family is either doing the hosting out of true love or out of a form of duty. This couple has a true love for missionaries. ~I was so blessed!
For the past 6 months, we have been praying about our family, personally supporting one or two missionary families. I know six months seems like a long time, but we were praying the Lord would allow us to meet and get to know the missionary. We wanted to feel the same burden for their field that we have for ours. We've met a lot of families but there was never any peace about where the money would go. After months of praying, we met the missionaries that the Lord wants us to support. We met them this week at the conference. What a blessing that we would have missed, if I allowed discouragement and Satan to stop us from attending the missions conference.
In one of the meetings, we learned that a Mexican national pastor who attends the conference every year was stopped at the border and detained. The Mexican gov't had stopped him and wanted to know what was the reason behind his family visiting the United States. After several hours of interrogation and the showing of his letter of invitation and all the legal documents for him and his family to enter, he was finally granted to leave Mexico and enter the U.S. I thought how horrible, here is a legal documented family trying to enter the U.S. LEGALLY and they are stopped and detained for several hours. When there are thousands entering illegally and the Mexican gov't. does stop them. The Garcia family will be back at the border sometime on Wednesday evening, join our family in praying that they will be allowed to reenter their country with no problems.
We also got to met two precious souls that need the Lord. One is a precious little three old who lives in the area. He and is older brother and sister ride the bus to Sunday School. The home life is horrible. We're praying that the Lord will intervene and the children will be safe. I'll be printing his picture today, so we can pray for this little guy and his siblings.
The other is a man who was invited to the services on Saturday and Sunday. He was brought by a missionary that he met last year and ran into again on Saturday. I was able to talk to him and hear a little bit about his life. I almost cried, hearing about how he feels that God has no use for him, since HE has taken his wife and two nephews that were murdered within a few weeks of each other. I'll no go further into what was told to me, but this man definitely needs the Lord. I asked him if I could take his picture, so I could keep it in my Bible and pray for him daily. He had the biggest smile on his face, he could not believe that a total stranger wanted his picture. I have a picture of him with my husband that will be printed today.
We were blessed in getting to hear each of the missionaries preach. I took lots of notes. There are a couple of statements that keep coming to my remembrance... "Are we trying to put God on our page, or are we allowing God to put us on His page?" "Are we totally devoted to our field?"
I'll close with a statement that Pastor Carrigan said " How does a church that does not support missions through a Faith Promise Missions program justify their existence?"