The Heart Priority

Depending on the Lord to provide for your family’s entire financial support is tough. This is normal life, however, for missionaries. But where does the line stop? How do you balance the mission of raising support and the idea that we are responsible to do our best and still trust God? Justin Williams, missionary to Uganda, explores this very question in his latest post.

Funding.  It seems to be hardwired into every missionary that is living and doing ministry on a support basis.  There have been times in my life where you could ask me what our percentage was at and I could rattle it off down to the decimal.  There have been times (more recently than I care to admit) that I incorporated it into every conversation (I’m sorry if I’ve done this to you).  While it is the job of the missionary to pursue financial support, I recognized something today that filled me so full of joy that I just about wept as it unfolded.  I recognized a heart shift that has taken the “funding is my responsibility” perspective, lit it on fire, threw it in a barrel and rolled it down a large hill.  Seems drastic doesn’t it.  Admit it, you liked the idea of a burning barrel rolling down a hill.  You pyro!

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Photo credit: Justin and Debby Williams

Today started with what seemed like a meeting opportunity that wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go.  I had a conversation here or there about our family, our ministry, our plans, God’s vision and it all seemed to follow the general guidelines of what is acceptable missionary marketing.  As I moved from conversation to conversation, I assessed how well I was doing at presenting myself and our ministry.  Now scientists have a name for this, it’s called “stupid”.  As if somehow I was going to say some magic words that would make money magically appear in our ministry account.  I realized in the next few moments how little this mattered to me and how the “God will take care of your needs” perspective would prove to be the only true method.

I received a phone call from a student that I love a lot.  To be fair, I love all of my students a lot and just because you graduate or leave the country doesn’t mean that I will leave you alone SO DON’T TRY TO GET AWAY FROM ME!  Awkward.  In all seriousness, this is what happens.  God puts you into a life at a point in time and says, this is the person or people that you are going to love and serve and I’ll give you everything you need to do it.  Boy does He ever.  You never forget them, you never stop caring about them, you laugh and cry at the memories and conversations that you still get to have.  It’s the greatest and most painful gift that we have ever been given and we wouldn’t change it for anything, ever.

I left the meetings, as if God had handed me a note that said, “you have an urgent phone call and it needs your attention, now”.  I got on the phone, trusting that God would give me the words to say and the spirit to identify and uplift.  For 40 minutes, I reconnected with this very special student in a way that only God could have woven.  We talked about heavy things and we laughed at my stupid jokes.  In the end, this amazing friend was uplifted, out of chaos and enjoying the joy of life.  It wasn’t me, it was He.  He knew what to say and He knew how to say it.  He knows how to make everyone feel important.  He always does.  That’s why that conversation was the only thing that mattered at that moment.  I wanted this amazing young person to know the love of the Savior and praise God, she got it.  And that is it, isn’t it.  At one point in time, I felt as though I was on the underbelly of society where everyone goes to suffer, die and be forgotten completely and utterly without value.  The place where hope dares not to go.  Yet He came down there, didn’t He, took our hands, saved us, loved us beyond explanation and seated us at His table.  Me?  Yep, and the fact that He let me work with Him today to love and serve and encourage just dropped me to my knees in utter gratitude.

When I hung up, I just couldn’t stop smiling.  I was filled to the brim to know that I had loved as Jesus loves and that my heart’s priority had been demonstrated in the zero hesitation to take a phone call and serve my sweet friend.  I am the richest man alive, because my Savior has redeemed me, loves me and somehow has found a way to use me.

Oh, by the way, as I forgot about the funding aspect and concentrated on the loving service and outreach, we picked up four new monthly partners (that we know of) and a loving pastor of an amazing church that we’ve only spoken to once came up to us after this and said, “let me know if you guys need more funding, we’d love to help.”  There is no one like our God!

 

Last Turn

Justin and Debby Williams are missionaries serving in pastoral training and education in Uganda, Africa. Justin recently posted an update on their Williams’ ministry blog that examined how God is helping them run the race of ministry during their final turn before the end of their first term on the field. Read on to learn how God is making a difference through the Williams family, giving them the energy and stamina to finish the race strong.

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“I remember (WAY BACK IN THE DAY) when I was in high school and I used to run a lot. I actually ran the 800 meter race. It was perhaps the most grueling race that I can remember because you couldn’t exactly jog and you certainly couldn’t sprint full out for half a mile. Lately I have been reminded of the feeling that encompassed me as I came around that last turn or also affectionately known as dead man’s turn because that is how you felt when you got there. At that turn I remember feeling the full body drain both physically and mentally. It was absolute exhaustion…and yet my legs continued to carry me. I still saw forward progress even though that last 100 meters seemed like a mile. Against every fiber of my being, I would sprint the last 100 meters and finish strong. For me it came down to excellent resistance training, perseverance through pain and an eye fixed on finishing well.

“In the past few months, we have been rounding the final corner and we are just beginning to see the end of our first term. Right now, the wind is blowing hard into our faces and the track seems longer and longer. We are certain of this; the enemy hates us and what God has, is and will continue to accomplish through us here. We have been through things over the past few months that have stretched our faith and caused both great joy and great pain. There are days when we laugh together out of sheer excitement and elation at what God is doing. There are days that we sit, shell shocked wondering where the next flaming arrow will come from. Yet in all of this, we see God’s hand around us and we watch His victories continue to mount even in areas where that would seem to be almost completely defeated. On days where we are predicting an outcome, He chuckles to Himself and thinks, ‘you dream too small.’

“As we begin to round this last corner, it is gratitude towards Him that allows my lungs to fill and my body to press forward. Below is just a sampling of how God is moving in such an amazing way.”

WGM can help you connect with the Williams family. Visit their bio page to learn more about them and their ministries. You can also see photos and get updates, prayer requests, and more by going to their blog.

The Gift

Justin and Debby Williams are missionaries serving in pastoral training and education ministries in Uganda. In this post on the Williamses’ blog, Justin tells of his friend Mohammad who needed encouragement but ended up also encouraging Justin with his story.

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Justin Williams and Mohammad (Photo credit- Justin and Debby William’s)

“This is my friend Mohammad. You might remember him from a blog post that I did several months ago. I haven’t seen Mohammad since last December. I was unexpectedly reunited with him this evening. I met Mohammad during a time when I was going through a lot of transition and learning to work within a new culture. He has a relaxed and pleasant demeanor that enables you to feel very welcome in his presence. I think at the very core of who Mohammad is, Jesus resides in that most secret of places. In a quiet way and loving way, Mohammad’s life emanates Jesus in every possible way. Even if he says nothing at all, he makes me want to have a closer walk with Christ. I wish more than anything that you could meet him because you’d simply praise God that this brother is in the family of God.

“Tonight Mohammad told me a story that really gripped me. The information of the story was gripping but also the emotion that came from my friend was intense. I wasn’t used to seeing him getting emotional, and at first he was embarrassed. I reassured him that I was happy to walk with him through what he was describing. This quickly put him at ease and he told me the following story.”

To hear the whole story, go to the Williamses’ ministry blog.

To donate to the Williamses’ ministry, visit www.wgm.org/williams.