Renee and I boarded a plane in Rwanda enroute to Nairobi Kenya. As we settled in and was about to buckle up, my attention was drawn to the cabin music. It was a very familiar song, but in this instance it was so refreshing and reassuring that it quieted a silent storm. Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" has been acclaimed by many as a timeless classic. But today it became, for me, a timely Word. In the midst of uncertainty God gives simple signs of confirmation that He is directing our path and raising us to where we should be. This has been a very significant trip in many ways, but I would just underscore three major reasons for its significance.
Firstly, this is the first official missionary trip for Renee and me since we have been in ministry. Secondly, we had the opportunity to truly discover what Paul meant by "We walk by faith and not by sight". Further, we have been thrust forward into a deeper understanding of how to truly overcoming disappointments and press beyond what appears to be natural limitations.
Our welcome to South Africa was not as we expected. No, don't get me wrong. It's not that we anticipated a welcome party. It is just that things were not properly arranged for us in terms of ministry engagements. Unfortunately, the agency entrusted to make arrangements for my ministry itinary, prior to a conference I was to attend in South Africa, bungled up in a big way. So Renee and I ended up in Pretoria with three canceled meetings and no scheduled ministry engagements otherwise. To make matters worse, the person who was coordinating my schedule proceeded on a short vacation from the day before my arrival to the day after my availability for ministry. We did get the contact information for his department head, who, I was told, would follow up. But nothing more than further apologies were in place. Consequently, Renee and I sat in the OR Tambo International Airport Johannesburg with limited cash, no one to pick us up and uncertain why we were there. We eventually made our way to the hotel via Airport taxi, which was a bit pricy (the taxi that is) especially when one considers our very limited resources. More than 50% of pledges made to support our trip did not materialise.
Nonetheless we continued to pray that God would work things out and we kept faith that He would open doors for our ministry. I really found it absolutely useless to have come all that way just to sit in meetings and conferences. There have been a burning desire to minister the Word of God, to see people turn to Christ and to connect with other believers in Christ. Just before we left the airport I got a What's app from a Pastor in Kenya welcoming me to Africa. He had reached out to us some months before requesting ministry partnership and for us to provide oversight to him and his ministry. He was delighted to know that I was in Africa. He was interested in knowing if I would be able to visit Kenya, even for a short while, on my way back home. I later told what had occured with my itinary. Needless to say he was ecstatic to know that I had availability on the weekend and he wanted to know if I would be able to come over to Kenya. Unknowing to me he had been praying for our trip and praying that God would make a way for me to visit. Quite remarkably even though our funds seemed so limited and tight prior, within 24 hrs we were able to access close to 2000USD for this unscheduled redirection. God is awesome. This brings true the saying, "Where God guides he provide". Yet, to an extent, uncertainty still loomed, because Kenya is not necessarily known to be the safest place on the planet. Additionaly, I have never met this pastor personally. Further, this could have been a set up and there was a real possibility I may not have returned home. But somehow I felt the tugging within my spirit, to go there. So now, sitting in the plane, in, of all places, Rwanda, God speaks through this song. I am given the assurance that He raises us up to where we ought to be. With it I received a pleasant assurance that this is the reason for our coming to Africa at this time. I was on my way to see what God would do.