One of the many things my husband John and I love about our church is its fervent passion for missionaries.
Our church currently supports more than 120 missionaries around the world and John and I have truly felt a real calling to help them in any way possible.
Every October our church holds a week-long missions revival and it is an exciting and important time of year for our church and a challenging one as well.
The weeks leading up to missions revival are filled with a wild flurry of activities and projects.
Here’s how it starts:
We of course do a top to bottom and inside and out church cleaning, the kids make Christmas cards for our missionaries, we do a number of local community service projects, have practices and rehearsals for all the various mission revival programs, and of course the planning, decorating and finalizing all the details for the women’s brunch honoring the missionary wives and any female missionaries. (The men just order barbeque for their dinner.)
I really look forward to all that the weeks leading up to, and the week of missions revival itself, have in store for us each year.
But, it seems each and every year, just as we get started, some major roadblocks are thrown in the way. And the first year of our major involvement in missions revival was about the worst.
Our pastor has said in his sermons numerous times that every year right around missions revival, Satan tries to get his fingers involved and mess up all the good we’re doing, and he definitely had me and John in his sights that year.
I was still working from home then (before I became full-time church staff), working from home afforded me some flexibility in my schedule, so I volunteered to help as much as possible to get our church ready for this amazing and awesome time.
Unfortunately, as soon as I offered up my (and John’s) services it immediately felt like a lot of things started falling down around us at just the wrong time.
From personal to professional issues it was one bad thing after another from the day I volunteered us to the end of missions revival.
We both had a seemingly never-ending stream of work take over most of our days that caused us to put in incredibly long days and threaten to derail our plans to volunteer at church.
John had to make professional decisions that truly broke my heart, caused floods of tears, panic attacks and some really depressing days.
John was hit with a couple serious illnesses that threatened to keep him sidelined.
Our personal finances plummeted to a place that seemed almost unfixable.
But then in the midst of the storm, as I was in the throws of a panic attack, three words came to mind, “Back off Satan.”
I realized right away what was going on and quickly made a vow to the Lord to persevere.
Then, one night, John and I sat on the back deck and talked about how we had both been feeling like we were sinking and I realized John was feeling it too. So I told him about my “Back off Satan” moment.
We both agreed that we, through the strength of our Lord and Savior would not allow Satan to mess up our plans to serve the Lord and that we would push forward no matter what may come our way.
And, I’m happy to say John and I have both persevered through some really crummy stuff over the last few years. You see, we didn’t just decide to persevere through missions revival that year. We decided to turn always to the Lord before anything else to get through the bad times.
These last few years have certainly been trying. John’s health has gotten worse, our finances are even worse now than they were then, and work is still a struggle, especially for John.
So, no, everything didn’t suddenly become all rainbows and sunshine.
Not even close.
We still are facing many trials, and some days it seems the closer we get to Him, and the more we give our lives to Jesus, the harder things get.
But we will not allow anything to interfere with our work to serve the Lord, and our journey to be more Christ-like and of course pour work every year to make this year’s missions revival the best and biggest ever.
It’s important to me that we support our missionaries and the incredible work they do around the world, and I’m not going to let Satan derail that plan.
So, every day we push forward.
With an outlook that understands all may not be well in our world, but that with strength the Lord can give us the strength to keep moving forward.
We are already looking forward to seeing how the Lord will move hearts and touch our church, our missionaries and our community during this October’s missions revival.
So, seriously, Satan, back off!