As I waved farewell to my husband for the last time this morning, my heart and throat converged. Tears welled up in my eyes. And as John walked into the Gauteng Train terminal, I drove away. Towards home. Without him.
Ministry trips are a common and basically expected aspect of our missionary life. Our team, especially, is committed to making long, difficult and significant trips into rural areas of southern Africa to support, encourage and uplift the pastors and ministry leaders there. Many of these leaders have dedicated their lives to sharing the Word of God under very challenging circumstances. They will not stop until every one in their community and beyond knows and embraces the hope of Jesus Christ. In addition, many of these men and women share the Word from memory as they do not own a Bible or have access to Bible materials and support.
Because of these very real and tangible needs, our team makes the journey to where these men and women are…into rural areas of southern Africa where few will choose to go; even today.
This morning, John left for a seven day trip into the warm heart of Africa, the nation of Malawi. This time, for many reasons, John makes the journey without one of our teammates. John will travel first by train to get to the airport. Then he will fly by plane to Malawi. From the airport he will travel by taxi to the bus station. From the bus station, he will travel from bus to the first ministry location. He’ll use local transport in the towns where he will be staying throughout the week.
Usually, John drives one of our team’s ministry vehicles to various ministry sites. Not this time. It was more cost effective to utilize and depend upon other means of local transportation in Malawi.
Thus, the reason for the convergence of my heart and throat. I have no problem with John driving to hither and yon to minister. John is a very good driver. I trust him. I confess to you, though, I felt a degree of worry as I thought about what is ahead for my husband as he goes from train to plane to taxi to bus to ???? in Malawi.
I opened my bible this morning, and here is what I read…
Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. Psalm 5: 1-3 NIV
Well, that’s totally me, this morning. I am laying out my prayer requests for the safety and protection of my husband as he journeys and ministers in Malawi this week.
I wait in expectation for my husband’s safe return to our family.
Then, I read more of Psalm 5. Here is how it ends…
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:11-12 NIV
It is apparent You want me to know that You’ve got this whole travel deal covered. Instead of positioning myself with worry, you want me to be glad and sing with joy over what You shall accomplish this week. Our family will trust You in ways we haven’t needed to in quite a long while as John travels place to place; all the while dependent upon You for every part of the journey.
I am cognizant of the fact that if John was driving, I may not feel this particular level of need to pray for him. What I am discerning this morning is that my husband will need even more prayer support this week as I seek my God for John’s ministry work and also his protection and care. The other thing I am picking up as I pray is that my God wants me to joyfully set my heart’s concerns in His hands and trust Him. He asks me to wait and watch in expectation for what He alone can accomplish this week.
I have one more matter of concern that I am presenting before my God on behalf of my husband. John is sick. Our boys have all come down with a very contagious respiratory infection this week. When John awoke this morning, he had similar symptoms and felt poorly. He just called me from the airport, and said he felt lousy. That’s not good. Like I just wrote, my God has impressed upon me that my husband needs even more prayer support this week for reasons known and unknown.
Friends, would you please pray for John and for his ministry and travels this week?
Thank you so much.
Thank you for your Word this morning. Please spread your protection over John as he travels today and throughout the week. Please secure his luggage and ensure its arrival in Malawi as well. It contains a lot of significant material for the pastors and ministry leaders. We need the workshop materials to be safely delivered throughout the week.
We love you Lord and we love and depend upon your Name. We choose to rejoice in what you are doing and what you will do this week, rather than fear and worry. Please help John feel better and heal the soreness of his throat and clear his nasal cavities so he can speak and breathe without difficulty or pain.
Surely, Lord, you bless the right and good and sacrificial work of my husband; please surround John with your favor as with a shield in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. Thank you, Father.