1st Anniversary on the Field

An Anniversary Celebration

May 29, 2018

How is it possible that I have already reached the one-year anniversary of being in England as a missionary?  As I reflect on this year, there are a lot of things that come to mind.  The year was full of firsts – my first Sunday in Peterborough, renting my first house, buying my first right-side drive car, driving on the right side of the road, hosting my first guests from the States, being a part of starting a brand-new ministry at the church, navigating the holidays without my family – and the list could continue on.  God has taught me so much this year.  There have been times of tears and times of great joy. But if I could choose one theme of this year it has to be how God has proven Himself faithful time after time. It is not as if I have never recognized God’s faithfulness before, but being thrust into another culture, seemingly all alone, my need to depend on that ever-present faithful God was magnified. It really began before I left Virginia. I had no idea how I would be able to leave my incredible church family, let alone my personal family with whom I am very close.  But God graciously impressed His peace on my heart even through the tears, and then He began to magnify His faithfulness in ways both big and small.  When I left the airport in Philadelphia after an unexplained delay in Norfolk, I wasn’t sure that all my bags made it on the plane, but they did!  When the house I had planned to move into fell through at the last possible minute, the Lord was preparing another one, a better one for me.  When I went to purchase a vehicle, He directed me to the perfect one for me.  When I started driving on the other side of the road, He protected me and all the other drivers even when I didn’t know what I was doing!  When I prayed earnestly that He would use me to reach people for Him, He allowed me to lead a sweet teenage girl from our church to a saving knowledge of Him along with a number of other teenage girls at camp in August.  When I was lonely, He used His people to encourage me.  When I was looking for my place in the ministry here, He led us to begin an afternoon Sunday school to have regular influence on young people and allow me to do what I love – teach!  When I was dreading the holidays, He gave me peace that He is always with me and gave me joy about being away from my family even at those difficult times. When I had to leave the field for an unexpected medical issue so soon after feeling settled in, He gave me that special time with my family, but He also gave me a longing to be back here serving the people He has given me to minister to.  When I was up against a time constraint to pass my UK driving test, He led me to the perfect instructors and helped me pass those tests the very first time.  These are just a few of the instances of God’s magnifying His faithfulness in my life. I don’t think there is any way to ever completely catalog all the ways God shows us His faithfulness.  I just want to thank the Lord for His faithfulness and for His allowing me to be a channel through which He can do His work. I am often amazed that God chooses to use unfaithful people to accomplish His will.  He doesn’t need us, but He chooses to use us.  And He continues to show His faithfulness no matter how we respond.

Ron Hamilton put it this way in the lyrics to a song entitled “Lord, You’ve Been Faithful”:

Great is Your faithfulness You’ve show to me.

Each day new blessings flow from Calvary.

Though others change, You are the same.

You are my God and faithful will remain.

 

Though friends may turn away, Your love is true.

Each time I stray, You draw me back to You.

You see my heart; You know my name.

You are my God and faithful will remain.

 

Lord, You’ve been faithful through all these years—

Through every joy, through every tear.

You’ve kept Your promises;

You’ve seen us through.

Now keep us faithful, Lord, to You.

Now keep us faithful, Lord, to You.

I have in no way arrived at some spiritual plateau now that I am no longer a technical rookie missionary, but I am thankful that I serve a faithful God every day!  Anniversaries are a nice time to look back and reflect on God’s goodness, but they are also a time of anticipation of what is to come. It is encouraging to consider what God has done in the past.  Better still, what will my faithful Lord accomplish in the year ahead if I yield myself to Him?  Lord, now keep me faithful to You!