Let me tell you a true story.
Of when I was in Cuba last. It’s routine to pick up hitchhikers. Many folks don’t have cars. Many live on routes not frequented by buses. Some can’t even afford a bus.
We stopped our van to pick up a couple who looked like they had been waiting for a ride, for a long while in the steamy heat. We’ve done this a million times. We always introduce ourselves right away and tell them we’re on a mission trip. But this time, the man grinned from ear to ear.
He happily replied that he himself was a pastor. He and his wife had just been visiting one of a dozen churches they have planted.
Then George, our Cuba coordinator, shared that he himself is a local pastor in a city called Artemisa. And then it was endless chatter, in Spanish of course, as we all began sharing our experiences!
Where are you coming from?, the pastor’s wife asked. From Ranchuelo, we replied.
My mother lives near that town! she replied. My mother and brother live nearby in the town of San Juan.
Really! We just held an evangelistic meeting last night in that very town!
The lady was astonished. She asked what church we had connected with. That’s where my mother and brother attend!, she cried.
Coordinator George pulled out his phone and began scrolling through the pictures he had taken the night before. (He always takes pictures of the congregation in order to count those who make decisions for Christ and to give a copy to the local pastor, so the pastor can follow up on the people who make decisions. When we tell you how many people attended an event, or made decisions for Christ, it’s not a guess. It’s real.)
The pastor’s wife looked at the photos and quickly found both her brother and her mother.
She was overjoyed! But she was in for another surprise!
This lady in the green blouse is your mother?, George asked. She’s part of our team! She’s helping us plant 45 churches in the region!
The pastor’s wife was astonished. Her mother had told her she had joined a church planting team . . . but she had no idea who these people were.
A seemingly random stop for a couple of hitchhikers . . .
Out of scores of hitchhikers we could have picked up . . .
80 miles from the town we were talking about . . .
Not even on the same highway . . .
Off the beaten path, amid dozens of mountain towns!
The young pastor became quiet and thoughtful. We made a rest stop, then bought the couple some coffee and ice cream. Back on the road, the pastor opened his heart to us. . . .
He was scheduled, within three weeks, to leave the country. He had been agonizing about how to leave his church and the churches they had planted. He had no real prospects for someone to take over.
But now, in this moment, he was under clear conviction that our meeting was not random at all. He felt that God wanted him to ask . . .
Could we take over their 12 church plants?
It was a “God moment.” We were all amazed by this divine appointment. We knew we were not alone. God was there with us holding this meeting. Would we take over the church plants with the personnel and the momentum we have in that region? . . . With the experience we have in the country? . . . More importantly, with the deep trust God established for both parties—without our even knowing each other before this moment?
Yes. We will do it. This was God’s agenda for this divine appointment!
We sailed through the rest of the week with such confidence . . . such joy . . . knowing that we were doing exactly what God wants us to be doing! Overjoyed that God would have us be His “assets” on the ground to accomplish His purposes!
We know full well that we are not the only ones. But we are thrilled to know we are on His team! You are the vital root, and we are seeing the fruit! We’re all in His harvest equation!