Most meetings are way too long. Long winded preachers are the brunt of more than enough exasperated audiences. But last week I attended a meeting that lasted for 12 loooong hours. There were at least 400 people in attendance and not one person left. A few got up occasionally to stretch or walk around but everyone’s attention was focused entirely on the purpose of the gathering. No complaints were expressed … although a few comments of relief were admitted to, as we all clambered off the flight!
During the many hours of that travel to and from Japan and Thailand, I had a lot of time to reflect on the handful of folk that I write these Beaver Tales to. Since you are one of the recipients, I took time to consider why I write to you. I have bundles of ‘glory stories’ to share from this trip … too many to contemplate in this note … but I keep coming back to the ‘reason’ for sharing.
While Laura was negotiating flight and visa plans for this last journey, she expressed several times that our shortfall in finances might be a significant indicator that our Father could be directing me to consider cancelling the venture. I make no claims to having inordinate amounts of faith but the persistent pleas from overseas persuaded me to carry on. Consequently, these past three months have been intriguing illustrations of our Father’s provision. In spite of an empty bank account, there was a timely arrival of many small gifts of cash which met every expense. But that’s not the best part! It is the fact that several folks, unknown to any of the others and individually responding to our Father’s urging, who have made the ’glory stories’ that keep us spell bound. How does God take $10 or $50 gifts and stretch them to accomplish this ministry vision that Laura and I have? I don’t know, but I certainly am privileged to be overwhelmed by His multiplication.
I pass along to you two thank-you notes from this last venture:
“I thank you so very much for your generosity and your energetic and outstanding teaching here in Thailand. The teams are still talking about how your teaching is helping them to understand each other to work together more effectively. From my perspective, this workshop was a great success. Each one is keen for you to come back to teach Part 2 in February. … This group has planted 400 churches in the past couple years in unchurched villages in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.”
“Thank you again for coming to Japan to spend the time with our team. We really appreciate your teaching plus the interest you have in people. You definitely left legacy behind, especially with the teaching on Rom12. I have had opportunities to share with three others who wanted to know more about this topic. They experience so many differences in the church and this new perspective helps them to understand why. The Bible becomes more real and relevant as we learn that God chooses unique people in different ages to fulfill His plans. May the Lord bless you for what you are doing and we thank Him to have you as a mature Christian leader. We pray that He will continue to provide all your needs and bless you in abundance like you have been a tremendous blessing to us.”
Some dollars from here and there and an accumulation of individual prayers evoked the above responses. But more than that, it was mainly, many hearts and minds desiring to encourage me to keep going on these ventures; to do the study and research necessary; to keep a focused mind for teaching; to experience health and stamina … that is the Reason why I want to ensure that you know your importance in our Father’s Plan.
The little word ‘thanks’ isn’t nearly enough to express our appreciation and gratitude, but it’s the only one my English language has! (I think it is a derivative of “thought you” or “thinking of you”, which is true!)
Thanks … HEAPS! … john (& Laura)
(original e-newsletter post – Sept 5, 2013)