A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of hearing Shaun Pillay, a North American church planter serving in Connecticut. He and his wife, Deshni, are from South Africa. As newlyweds, they sensed God’s call on their life to move to the United States and impact the northeastern part of our country. With just two suitcases and an obedience to say, “I will go where you send me,” the Pillays started prayerwalking in the city of Norwich, a city with a large international population.
As I listened to Shaun’s story, I was emotionally struck by two different things he shared. (although I think I could have listened to him for hours!) First, he pulled out a stack of notes that had been sent to him on his birthday. These handwritten cards were written by young girls who participate in Girls in Action at their church. As he held the cards and read a few messages from these grade school girls, he said, “When I get discouraged or wonder why God has asked me to continue, I pull out these cards and they keep me going.” What a reminder for Southern Baptists to pray for our missionaries and encourage them on a continual basis.
Secondly, Shaun made a statement that I probably will never forget. He said, “We have to stop saying how hard the ground is. Instead, we should start saying how big our God is.” How easy it is to complain that the “ground” God has called us to is difficult and hard to plow. But how much bigger is our God? Even if I’m not planting a church, God has given me a field to plow, a field to sow and a field to harvest. Do I sometimes limit the size of God? Do I really ask God to do things only He can do or do I pray for things I can do in my flesh?
This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s retreat for the Maryland/Delaware convention. Arriving in Baltimore, I was met by my friend Gayla Parker, who leads the women’s area. Before we headed to the retreat center, she took me on a quick tour of downtown Baltimore where she and her husband serve. I had never seen the downtown area of Baltimore and what it offers. (someone suggested I should have sung “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray) At one point, Gayla drove me to a spot overlooking the city. I couldn’t help but silently pray, “I know this ground may seem hard. But God is big and He desires a spiritual awakening for these people.” There are 66.5 million people living in the northeast and 82% do not have a personal relationships with Christ. There are 1,761 Southern Baptist congregations, with a ratio of 1 to 37,788 per the population. In short, the need is great. But God is big.
I hope you will join thousands of other Southern Baptists this week as we pray for our North American missionaries. Pray for your church as they promote giving towards the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Pray for your own gift towards the offering. For more information, visit www.anniearmstrong.com. To order offering supplies for your church, visit www.bgco.org/women.