Thursday, June 11, 2015

How God Used My Book to Build a New Missionary's Faith

How God Used My Book, Frontiers of Faith, to Build a New Missionary's Faith

As an author, my greatest joy is to hear that a book I have written has encouraged a reader. Last month, I met a new missionary who was going to the exact mission field where my great aunt had ministered for forty years. While we talked about that, I felt I should give the lady a copy of my book, Frontiers of Faith, which tells the story of how my grandparents, Charles and Florence Personeus, went to Alaska as pioneer missionaries in 1917 entirely by faith--with no promise of support.

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Last week, I received an e-mail from my new missionary friend, telling of how God performed a miracle for her too as she read my book. She gave me permission to share it:

"I was going to write you after I finished reading Frontiers of Faith, but I feel like now is an appropriate time to tell you how much your book is impacting me. I am in the middle of it right now.

"I've been on a trip to Headquarters this past week and just arrived yesterday. My vehicle began making an awful noise two days ago, and I still had hours left to drive. The noise was terribly bad. I prayed and asked people I knew to pray. I did not have time to get it checked out until I arrived here yesterday. I was trying to have the right attitude, but I just felt sick about it. My car is old, and I knew getting it fixed would cost quite a bit of money. But if I didn't get it taken care of, then I'd risk not making it home in time.

"I took it to an auto shop, and they told me it would cost $90 to just see what the problem was and also that it would be several hours before they could even look at it. I agreed, gathered a few belongings out of my car, and walked around the area. Thoughts began to fill my head about what the cost would be or if they would keep it overnight. I did not have the time or the money to spare.

"I found a coffee shop where I ended up spending a good amount of time reading your book. As I continued to read, my heart just melted. Here I am, worrying about my situation (especially because I am alone and feel like no one understands or cares), and I read about trial after trial that your grandparents faced--the incredible amount of faith that it took to follow Jesus in such conditions. One thing after another. What I was going through didn't even hold a candle, but I had that same feeling--that there is absolutely no one I can depend on but Jesus. I have no other option. Their story amazed me.

"I came back to the auto shop and waited for another 2 hours (6 hours total) and continued to read. The same workers came in and out, moved papers around and helped many customers. Even though I had been reading of such great faith, I'm sad to say that mine was still wavering. I was expecting the worst with every passing second. I just kept praying.

"Finally, it was close to closing time, and I was sitting there, alone. A worker walked in (who I had not seen before). He called me up and told me that he had fixed my problem. As I pulled out my credit card to pay, he told me I owed nothing. Nothing! Not a diagnostic fee. Nothing. He gave me the keys, and I was free to go. I thanked him as tears filled my eyes, but I held it in until I got to the car. Then I cried all the way to the hotel.

"Anyone would think this was a little thing. And no one else will truly understand what God did in that moment. But the best way I can explain it is that He showed me that I was wrong to think that I was stepping out alone (I often feel that way as I travel alone, speak alone etc.). He showed me that He will answer me. He showed me that I need Him like I need air. I did not deserve the kindness He showed me, but He gave it to me anyway. He showed me that He is a good, good Father no matter what the circumstance. He affirmed what I am doing.

"Sorry for writing such a long message. I thought you would appreciate that story, though. God is using your book to deepen my faith and at just the right time. Things are starting to get scary and real. Reading your true story has reminded me why I am here."

Yes, my friend, you are learning what my grandparents learned nearly one hundred years ago: "When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them" (John 10:4). All we have to do is follow the Good Shepherd, who takes care of his own.

How has God encouraged your faith?

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