I’ve been on this trip for 45 days. I’ve spent 10 days in 4 countries, not including multiple other countries where we’ve had layovers. I’ve seen the same group of 11 people every single day. And even when I’ve been tired, weak and low, God has been persistent in His efforts to win hearts of unbelievers and remind my heart of how good He is.
This week we were in Slovenia – a tiny country in Eastern Europe. It is breathtakingly beautiful here, but the hearts of people are cold toward the Gospel. It’s a very spiritually dark place. While we’ve been here, our main goal was to evangelize through giving people pamphlets with the Gospel message in the Slovene language.
This has been an all-around exhausting country. I mean, the entire country is hills and mountains. So in order to get this literature to people’s doors, half of us were walking, the other half biking, multiple miles a day. We would do this in the morning, come back and eat lunch, then have an activity in the afternoon. One day, we went rafting in the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen [know that scene from the second Narnia where the big river monster thing comes up and they defeat him? That’s shot in this river in Slovenia], and another afternoon we went canyoning [look it up, it’s pretty extreme, I know].
- The first few days of our time in Slovenia, we were in a city called Idrija. We met a local missionary there and some Slovene believers – the ONLY Slovene believers in the entire city. Our plan was to go pass out literature every day, but God had other plans. It rained. And rained. And rained. No one was outside, so there weren’t opportunities to evangelize. But God is persistent. His work isn’t undone by some droplets of rain. Instead of talking with unbelievers, we had the opportunity to speak with the 3 Slovene believers for 3 days. It was such a blessing to them. We played basketball, went to dinner and just did life with them. We prayed for them and worshipped together. My heart was so broken for them; I can’t imagine not having a church family or ANY other believers to encourage me in such a dark place. God knew just what they needed. He knew their hearts were aching for fellowship and He gave them exactly what they asked. He’s persistent in His efforts to bring us joy.
- As I mentioned earlier, the “honeymoon” phase of this trip is over. This country is some hard work. Good and needed work, but hard. As I was walking multiple miles every morning, persistence was a constant theme. Persistence in the physicality – just keep walking. Persistence in communication with the Lord. Sometimes it was easier to let my mind wander to home, to family, than to pray about each pamphlet I was handing out. But no matter how weak and tired I was, Jesus always came in with His perfect touch of comfort, strength and persistence. It was only His hand pulling mine that got me anywhere in this country.
- Lastly, I did this little thing called canyoning. Joe, the missionary here, has a ministry with canyoning and rafting. He takes groups out and teaches them about Jesus while they’re stuck on a boat with him. What an awesome ministry! Joe’s been doing this for 14 years, so he’s basically a pro at it. I had never heard of canyoning before this trip, so you probably haven’t either… just look at the link below. Haha 🙂 Basically, canyoning is going down a mountain through all the natural slides and caves and what not. It’s absolutely amazing. But man, was it difficult. First off, you’re wearing like 10 pounds worth of gear, all over you. Then you do this little HIKE UP A MOUNTAIN for 45 minutes. Y’all. I have never been so bad at something in my life. As we’re walking up, I literally got to the point where I was stopping every 5 steps to breathe. It was such a defeating and frustrating feeling. I was crying, so angry at myself for stopping, when one of my friends came to pray over us so we could make it up the rest of the way. Right then, my focus changed. Every step, I took in Him. Because Jesus never quits giving encouragement, once my mind was stayed on Him, it was at rest. We made it up. Barely. But we made it. Then the real fun began… jumping and sliding down natural waterfalls kind of fun. The whole thing took about 3 hours. 3 hours of pushing yourself – physically and mentally. We had so much fun and seriously, there is no one I would have rather done something like that with than my team. I love these people with a fierce love from the Lord and am so thankful for them. I know it sounds like it was just a bunch of daredevil fun, but really, God taught me a lot. I think He does that a lot when we’re physically tired and can barely do anything on our own. He taught me how at my lowest, when I feel tired and weak, not only is He persistent in his fight for me, but he gives me the ability to be persistent – to combat whatever is in front of me. A mighty fortress is our God.
Here’s a link for canyoning; this isn’t my team, but it’s with the same people that took us.
So here in this 4th country, after 45 days on this trip, the same 11 people filling all of those days, God has given me amazing persistence in all circumstances. I’ve clung to Him and His strength because I have found that I am completely and utterly useless on my own. His goodness and grace overwhelm me every day.
For His Name,