Faith in the Chaos- Chapter Nine: What A Good Interpreter Can Do

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When Raivis returned home to Biksēre from the hospital, I was blessed for the first time with a good interpreter. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Raivis’ little brother and sister were at the camp along with their neighbour girl. Her brother wasn’t able to attend, but heard about the balloon dogs I made. He came over to our house hoping I’d make one for him.

An idea struck me. With Raivis interpreting, I could this as an opportunity to share the gospel. I took the empty balloon and explained how this like our life. We were empty. Blowing up the balloon, I said that when Jesus enters our lives, he fills us up. I twisted and form the balloon. But not only that, I explained, Jesus works with us to make something beautiful out of our lives.

When I finished my little demonstration, I told him about how Jesus loves us and died for us. I asked him if he would like to let Jesus into his heart. He said yes. We prayed and he accepted Jesus as his personal saviour.

It was the first time I ever had the privilege of introducing someone to Christ. The moment took my breath away. This seven year old boy met Jesus that day and I was blessed to participate in it. I believe that God’s Spirit will work in his life. I prayed that this boy would follow Christ and grow in his faith.

A few days later Raivis and I were invited to the home of a Christian woman to talk to her friend about God. What I learned afterward was that she’d just discovered she was pregnant and the father would not take responsibility for the baby. She was hurt and confused. If I’d known all that before hand, I’m certain to have lost my nerve. What could I possibly say to someone in such pain?

I went over the plan of salvation, telling her about how much God loved her and how He sent Jesus to willingly die to forgive her sins. When I was finished, she was speechless. She told me that what I said made sense and she didn’t know what to say.

She had never touched a Bible in her life. She learned that not only did this Bible describe her sin, but it also provided a way out. For the first time in her life she stood face to face with Jesus. With all her sin and guilt she looked at Jesus and saw love and forgiveness.

She accepted Jesus that night. A week later she brought a friend to hear about this Jesus who gave her peace.

We gave her a Bible of her own so she can grow as a follower of Jesus. Her life was not easy, but in Christ she had the strengthen and love to persevere.

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Faith in the Chaos- A Missionary Memoir Journal

In 1994 I served as a short-term missionary in the Eastern European country of Latvia. I kept a journal of my experiences through that Summer.

I’ve tried not to alter the text except to correct grammar or to prove context. I feel it’s important to protect the raw experiences of the trip.

Without a doubt, this was one of the greatest times of spiritual growth I have ever had. I hope these serve as an encouragement to others as they pursue God’s will for their lives.

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Chapter 1. The Announcement

“I think he phoned to let you know you’re accepted. I’m minty-nine percent sure that’s why he called,” said my college roommate.

“Oh,” I replied.

The word dropped out like a lead weight. I was accepted. The first question that entered my head was, ‘What have you got your self into?” A missions trip was one thing. I went to Minnesota two years earlier. A missions trip to Latvia was completely different.

Joy did not overflow from my heart. Try shock. Fear. Perhaps terror. I knew this was an opportunity of a lifetime, but at that moment it sure didn’t feel like one.

I’d prayed for God to lead. I’d even prayed that He’d let me go. That still didn’t prepare me for the sudden reality that I’d be traveling to a former Soviet Republic. I was expected to work with a youth group at the largest Baptist church in Latvia. They had one thousand members. My entire church had forty-five.

Add to the fact that I would also be living and working in an orphanage. The full weight of doubt hit me at once. What if my relationships back home suffer? I was engaged to be married. What if the Latvian people don’t accept me? What if I don’t like them? What if I fail?

I was dizzy from all the uncertainty. It was wonderful that God opened this door, but how am I supposed to follow through? God knows I don’t have the faith of Abraham or the courage of Paul. Aren’t those the types of people God calls to trips like this?

As I began to spread the news and prepare for the long trek ahead, hope and excitement grew. The joy others felt made me feel better.

My fiancée was a blessing beyond belief. She was the one who convinced me to apply for the trip. When I was accepted, she showed a prayer life that would continue to support us through decades of marriage. Her excitement did more to calm my nervous heart than the support of everyone else combined.

When my pastor heard the good news, he was absolutely jubilant. Many times he told me how he wished to go in my place. He reminded me that I ought to thank God for the privilege. Over the next few months he took it upon himself to provide personal tutelage in sharing the Gospel.

The lessons he gave were some of the most important of my entire life.

Each week he walked me through Scriptures which would prove invaluable in introducing folks to the transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. For a man who spent so many years as an evangelist, Pastor Bullis wanted to ensure I would know the joy to witnessing others enter the glory of God.