Member Care - Be Encouraged! - 2nd Edition
January 01, 2005 | Featured
By Mark Gwartney
I have some special files out right now – they are on my desk and easily accessible because we have some people who need unique attention this time of year. These are the “late” files. We call them “late hires,” “late appointees,” and “late arrivals.” Many of you serving with NICS are anxiously awaiting the arrival of these “late” people. Please take the word “late” with proper acknowledgement that it is a human term, often designated such because we don’t have another linguistic way of describing it when we are waiting on God.
• Mindy is waiting on a visa to join the team in Belem, Brazil.
• Allan is working with his Philippine government to arrange for his arrival in Paramaribo, Suriname.
• Caleb & Tracy are pursuing a visa to return to Uijongbu, Korea.
• Simon is making final arrangements to depart for Bandung, Indonesia, having just been hired 3 weeks ago.
• Joel & Karina are seeking the financial support necessary to serve in Belem, Brazil.
• Miriam is having her hurricane damaged house repaired in Florida as she prepares for a December departure to Singapore.
• Mee Seong must finish her studies and Terry must raise a support team before they can each join the body in Central Asia.
• Joseph is ready to go, but we are searching for a new placement following the denial of his entry to Brazil.
• John, Lisa and their two boys just arrived in La Paz, Bolivia two weeks ago.
• Jeana and her three daughters were delayed four days in Los Angeles while en route to their assignment in China last month.
• There are others whose names I do not know because they have not yet been found to fill those open positions in 2 or 3 locations.
My heart aches for the people mentioned above and for those who are struggling on the field as a result of these situations. Even here in the Home Office we have jointly identified the need for about 4-6 more personnel within the next year. In man’s terms “it can’t be done” because that would increase our staff by 50% in a single leap! So exactly who is it that is “late” in all these cases? I invite you to read Barnabas International’s Encouragement Letter below for a fresh perspective on our human perceptions. And above all… Pray for those who are waiting.
Serving Him Together,
Good Morning Friend,
You and I tend to think of time in terms of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. We wear wrist watches. We have clocks and calendars in our homes and offices. We live with the limitations of time and space. We are busy . . . rushing here and there. How different it is with God. I can’t imagine Him looking at the clock. He is never late . . . and He is never early. He is always on time. His timing is always perfect.
I recall the story of Mary and Martha ( John 11) who were frantically trying to find Jesus so He could come and heal their sick brother, Lazarus. Jesus finally arrived but He was late; in fact, too late according to their calendar. Lazarus was dead and had been in the tomb for four days. Twice they said to Jesus . . . If only you would have been here. Jesus then called Lazarus to come out of the tomb. He did so. That day the sisters learned something new about Jesus, The Resurrection and the Life ( John 11:25). Is God ever late? Is He ever too late? NO . . . though it may sometimes seem that He is too late. We wring our hands, wishing that He would do something. But God is always doing something. He is fully engaged.
At the time of my near-death automobile accident, God did a number of awesome things to reveal Himself to many of us. Soon after hitting the tree with my car, and hitting the steering wheel with my face, I am told that a large cluster of curious people gathered around the accident site. One of them was Kristin, a Christian nurse. She took care of me until the paramedics arrived. Twice my breathing stopped and she pounded my chest to get me breathing again. Humanly speaking, she brought me back to life. She later wrote an article about her experience that night. She entitled it PROVIDENCE. She explained that everything went wrong for her in the hours before the accident. Her schedule was repeatedly interrupted with delays and then . . . she came upon the accident. God used her in my life. Her article was a powerful explanation of God’s over-riding involvement in our lives. She stated that there is no room for Christians to ever use these phrases . . . it just happened . . . It was a lucky break . . . etc. She was convinced that a sovereign God had arranged her schedule that night. He had put her in the right place at the right time.
Let me give you another illustration of God’s perfect timing. About six years ago, I asked the board of Barnabas International to find a new man to be the Executive Director of Barnabas International. A special committee was appointed. They worked very hard. We had some delays . . . some disappointments . . . and lots of questions. It must have looked like we were doing nothing. We were, however, thoroughly doing our task. Finally and amazingly, God brought the right man to us. It seemed like it was ‘out of the blue,’ but it was a God-orchestrated event . . . as to the person and as to the timing. Our Board of Directors is unanimously and enthusiastically pleased to announce that on January 1, 2005, Lee Hotchkiss will become our Executive Director. He comes with good experience as a pastor, as an overseas’ missionary, and as a chaplain-to-missionaries with a well-respected overseas’ ministry. We will soon be able to introduce him world-wide. He is a true Barnabas. You will agree when you meet him. Whether in his preaching, in his counseling, or in conversation over a cup of coffee, you will be blessed.
God’s perfect timing is also stated and illustrated in Galatians 4:4 when it says, In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son (KJV). Stated a bit differently we can say “When the time was right” or “When God had all things in readiness, He sent forth His Son.” The birth of Jesus was perfectly timed. So are the events in your life and mine. Sometimes we are amazed to see what God does and when He does it. My associate, Perry, uses this phrase to describe such times . . . it is a “God-thing.” That may sound trite but it is really profound. A theologian put it like this, “The demands of the human understanding for causation requires but an old and only answer – GOD.”
He is the great Programmer. He is the Architect of the universe and of our lives . . . yours and mine. Right now, what is the thing that is troubling you? Trust Him because He is at work on your behalf.
Interim Executive Director