God surprised us with unexpected answers to prayers during our seven month whirlwind after being accepted as members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. My husband completed his semester of teaching University and I began an online course. We wrote letters, visited churches and made phone calls. We had a very successful garage sale and arranged to store items we wished to keep. Our house rented unexpectedly quickly so we searched for an efficiency apartment with an open ended lease! Just then, friends unexpectedly invited us to live with them till our departure! After moving in, we continued raising support. We traveled to the location of our mission’s headquarters for three weeks of training and finally to the site of my two week educational therapy training. During all of this, I was having extreme left knee pain. After several failed interventions, a partial replacement was my only option.
While recovering at our friend’s home we continued making support contacts. One day, while our hosts were not at home, their phone rang. My husband answered and found that it was from an investment company. He dutifully took their number offering to give our hosts a message. While my husband told me about the call he thought more about the name of the person representing the company and realized that the name was the same as that of a former university student. He called back and discovered that, indeed, this person had once been his student. They caught up with one another’s lives and as my husband described our future plans, the investor excitedly said, “I want to be part of that by sending monthly support. Just tell me how and where.” We had been praying that God would supply our needs but we had never prayed that God would use a “cold” call while living at a friend’s house to be part of that answer!
Every missionary can tell similar stories. Our support came from churches and individuals as well as from unexpected sources. There were acquaintances who heard about our plans “by the grape vine” as well as from someone we got to know while trapped in a blizzard! Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God is full of surprises and when we follow his lead and step out in faith, he will continue to surprise us with unexpected answers to prayers; even when we had not yet specifically prayed them!
Helen and her husband David confirmed God’s first call to missions at a MissionNext Conference in 2002. After three short-term (2-4 month) projects in Lithuania, they joined Wycliffe Bible Translators. They then taught for 7 years at Black Forest Academy in Germany. Black Forest Academy serves mostly US passport missionary families who work in over 50 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Now, back in the States, David continues to serve Wycliffe in a human resources capacity.