What do you think of when you hear “IMB worker?”
Most people in our Southern Baptist churches have a high and lofty image of those called by God to serve overseas. The reality is that we are a lot like you. We are people who love God and are following His leading, living life and sharing Christ where God has put us.
We might have taken a long journey to our homes but our (best) days are filled with little steps of obedience.
Sometimes there are special evangelism events and trainings and camps, and there is language school which is a beast, but the day-in and day-out is just living with purpose and acting in obedience, even if its uncomfortable.
The result for that is seeing God work in what we like to refer to as “God moments.” Those are the times when God surprises us in little moments of obedience. Here are a few examples from people who are loving God, living life and sharing Christ where God has put them.
Not a chance encounter in a blue vest
Katy Darnell, an IMB worker in the Netherlands, stepped out of her comfort zone and put on a blue vest with the name and website of a partner Christian outreach organization. In the Netherlands, people doing a public promotion often wear such a vest to identify their cause, but Katy usually avoids those people, literally walking away from anyone who has one, in dread of an uncomfortable ask or a sales pitch.
But the Holy Spirit intervened and helped Katy humble herself and vest-up. Imagine her surprise when people began to stop her, a thing that “just doesn’t happen,” and ask what she was doing. She was amazed as she was able to have conversations with complete strangers and offer them hope.
Maddy* was one of those people. Within the first minute of talking, she began to share with Katy that she had just received some devastating news that made her feel devalued. She had decided to take time off work to figure things out. Katy told her how precious she is to God and offered her the Gospel of John to read. She gladly took it, remarking, “This just can’t be coincidence that we’re talking.” Katy promised to be praying for her through the week.
“My heart was filled up as I heard people’s stories and was able to point those people to Jesus,” said Katy.
That’s a God moment!
Demonstraing God’s love in a Ukrainian grocery store
Kasey Lewis, an IMB worker in the Ukraine, was in the grocery store with her children Isaiah and Brynn. She picked the shortest line at check-out but was stalled when an elderly woman in front of her had an issue. The woman didn’t have enough money and was picking and choosing what she could afford to buy. She was old and hunched over, barely able to get around without leaning on the shopping cart.
“As Isaiah looked at candy and Brynn ate a cracker, I caught a glimpse of her face,” Kasey said. “She was a lady from our old neighborhood — one known to have an unkind spirit, yelling and fussing at everyone. But in that moment, I did not see that lady; I saw an elderly woman who has lived a hard life, struggled to be loved, and was barely making it on her own.”
Kasey leaned over and handed the cashier money and told her she wanted to buy everything for the lady.
“I told her to put her money away. She was shocked. I imagine that she has never had anyone buy her anything,” Kasey said.
The woman recognized Kasey and started to cry. The cashier was speechless. Kasey was able to tell them that she wanted to help because God loved her and wanted to provide for her every need. She shared the gospel with the woman and offered her a ride home. She declined the offer and said that she had somewhere she needed to go — her church.
That’s a God moment!
Delivering a package and receiving hope
Alice, a new believer in the Czech Republic, ordered a package that Matthew was delivering. Alice had been a Christian for a while and had been sharing her faith actively alongside IMB personnel in a local church plant.
As Matthew delivered her package, Alice shared with him the hope of the gospel and gave an invitation to join a Bible study. Unbeknownst to Alice, God had been working on Matthew’s heart for months through many circumstances, including relationships, a vehicle accident and work. Matthew had been asking God to make Himself known and that day He did – through the faithful witness of Alice. Over time, Matthew grew in a hunger for God’s Word and community and is now pursuing baptism.
That’s a God moment!
God moments are happening all over Europe and all over the world. They happen when His people are available, willing and obedient. Philippians 2:13 says that God is working through you to accomplish His purposes. Look around to notice how God is working where you are and join in! Take just a small step of obedience today and be surprised.
Pray for the ones Katy and her team talked with during the outreach. Pray that seeds will take root and grow to bear fruit.
Pray for the elderly woman who Kasey blessed in the grocery store. Pray that God has softened her and will continue to change her life.
Pray for God to continue to grow Matthew’s faith and equip him to be a part of Czech church-planting.
Pray for your neighborhood and those you influence.