When the unexpected happens, that is often when we see more clearly how God guides us and proves Himself to us. We all know, and I am sure attempt, to have God guide us on a daily basis. However, it is in the uncharted waters of the unexpected that we might open our eyes a little more to see His hand in our everyday lives. In my case, when my whole year’s schedule of overseas trips was canceled (COVID-19 was my cancel culture), I was certainly looking for His guidance.
As I mentioned in my last letter, I had three of my scheduled trips canceled. Well, the next two on my schedule ended up being canceled, and my October trip may not come to pass either. My favorite response to the question, “When is your next trip?” is, “We will see what happens.” I can testify to you that God will help us “see what happens” if we just continue to do His will and trust Him. God gave me some meetings that I would not have normally had. These past two months, I have been able to preach in Columbia, Missouri; Waterloo, Iowa; Kahoka, Missouri; Keokuk, Iowa; and Eastover, North Carolina. Most of these churches were livestreaming, as well as meeting in the churches. This is a picture of one where I was preaching while they livestreamed the service. I was also able to attend a planning meeting with FBMI and then teach for a week in the Candidate School held each year at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, for FBMI missionary candidates. It was a miracle we were even able to have the school, and we praise the Lord for the 10 people who came as candidates.
I have tried to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and take advantage of soul-winning opportunities. When staying in hotels, Linda and I try to go for our daily walks. On one occasion, we entered the lobby of a hotel hand in hand after our walk. The workers commented on how nice it was to see a couple walking hand in hand. (They may have mentioned “older couple.”) I went back to the room, got some tracts, and went back to the lobby so I could give each worker a tract. They reacted with surprise, almost shock, when I mentioned we had been married 41 years. I was able to honor marriage and testify for the Lord Jesus at the same time. On another occasion while in the parking lot of a hotel, I thanked a veteran for his service to his country. After giving him a tract, I was able to witness to him and pray with him. I also prayed for his daughter, who’d just had major surgery.
We closed out the month of August having our Faith Promise Missions Conference here at Marion Avenue Baptist Church. What a blessing it was to host eight couples who are headed around the world preaching the Gospel. It is great to be in the Lord’s service!
Missionary Evangelist James Belisle