Lately, I haven't been able to get enough of missionary books and stories. This has been part of our homeschooling day. Jason and Colt are at work, and Luke is always nearby, listening much more than we probably realize, but it's mostly Joy and me.
Reading the journey - the call, the scarifices and the rewards - of these missionaries, I am amazed, humbled, and inspired.
There's quite a few that we've enjoyed this past year (some were read alouds and some independent reading), and I highly recommend them all: Mary Slessor, David Livingstone, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Lottie Moon, William Carey, George Muller, Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor, Through Gates of Splendor, and End of the Spear. (There are also movies for some of these....you really must see End of the Spear AFTER you read the book).
|Most of the titles above came from this series. Great books!|
|Written by Jim Elliot's wife..... tells the story leading up to the events of the 5 men being speared by the Waodani.|
|Written by son of Nate Saint, Steve Saint, this one tells the rest of the story...God's plan for bringing the Gospel to the Waodani.|
This leads me to the point of today's post. There's one thing every one of these missionaries had in common. Although each one felt God's call to the mission field, God's plan almost always differed from their plan. When they waited upon the Lord and trusted Him, he not only opened doors of opportunity (or closed doors sometimes), but they found His way was better anyway.
I want to share a prime example of what I'm talking about that comes from a combination of two books - Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot and End of the Spear by Steve Saint. If you're not familiar with these books, the first one, Through Gates of Splendor, is written by the wife of Jim Elliot. It tells the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian, the five men (missionaries) who ultimately gave their lives bringing the Gospel to the Waodani (or Auca Indians as they were called) in the jungle of Ecuador.
But....that wasn't the end of the story. God had a plan. It was a good plan. A plan that man never would have devised. I'm sure those men had no idea that they would give their lives (at least so soon) for the sake of reaching this tribe, although they were all willing to give their lives if necessary. They hoped to make friendly contact. But only God could orchestrate such a plan for the Waodani. Two years after the death of those five men, Elisabeth Elliot (wife of Jim Elliot) and Rachel Saint (sister of Nate Saint) went and lived among the Waodani bringing God's Word to the Waodani, so they could follow His Trail (as they Waodani called it).
|Rachel Saint (Steve's Aunt & Nate's Sister) living among the Waodani.|
|Elisabeth Elliot and her daugher (age 3 at the time I think) went to live among the Waodani....the very men that speared her husband and Valerie's daddy.|
The second book, End of the Spear, written by Nate Saint's son, Steve Saint, tells the rest of God's plan - the rest of the story - years later - a little more than 30 years later. Nate's son, Steve, spent alot of time as he was growing up with his Aunt Rachel among these people. They loved him and he loved them back. Then later, Steve and his family were invited by the very people that speared his father (and the other four missionaries) to come live among them and help them learn how to survive in the outside world.
In fact, one of the very men (Mincaye) that speared his dad became the adopted grandfather of Steve's children.
|Mincaye became like a dad to Steve and adopted grandfather to his children.|
That is a plan that only God could orchestrate. Most would expect Steve to hate the Waodani for taking his father away when he was only five, but not only did he NOT want that, but he loved them.
I'm sure that although those men (and their wives) desired to be used by God, they had no idea how it would all play out. They didn't know that by giving their lives, it would open the door for the Gospel to be brought to them. God knows best. His plan is best. He knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between.
In my own life, there have been many instances where I had it all figured out, only to find out I really didn't. Had things gone the way I wanted, I would have missed out on the blessing of knowing God's plan for my life and seeing it all come together. Just one example of this in my personal life was that of my children. If things had gone according to my plan, I know I would have missed out on God's plan for blessing me with the three children I have. Three children that came to me in three very different and special ways. But before the blessing, came alot of "stuff", stuff I would just have soon by-passed. It was a journey in which I did trust God, but I did also question why it wasn't what or when I desired. His timing wasn't always my timing. As a matter of fact, most of the time it wasn't. His answers weren't always what I had in mind either - but I could see after the fact, that it was best. And so it has been many times in my life - with the big things and the small things. Sometimes we can think we have it all figured out and we know best and we like to help God along a little bit too.
But would I want it any other way but God's plan? No way. One thing I'm certain of is I wouldn't want to live a day without the Lord and I want His plan for my life. I know He loves me; He knows me; He knows what's best and I want to trust him with His plan for my life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
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