Three of our children have had to raise finance for gap years with Christian organisations, one of them twice. The latest challenge began earlier this year when our daughter Beth was accepted into the Youth for Christ (YFC) gap year programme and found that she had to raise £3,000 for YFC plus personal support of £1,200. Even with the help of church and family that seemed an incredible mountain to climb for Beth, and she was not confident initially. It is impossible to say how many people have contributed to the total, or count those who have supported Beth in other ways through prayer and encouragement. One thing we do know is that every person who has given Beth encouragement and support or promised to pray is a partner in the mission that is taking place through the YFC ‘Nomad’ cage football team that Beth has joined. Nomad have already been in contact with hundreds of young people around the UK simply through coaching two-a-side football (soccer), which is played inside a cage.
Similar doubts about finance must have troubled the three young members of the US Christian band ‘As Isaac’ and their manager when they first heard God challenging them to cross the Atlantic with their instruments to the UK and Ireland. They asked for nothing but the opportunity to play and sing, and trusted God to provide the wherewithal to enable them to fly to the UK and travel up and down the country and over to Ireland, and to provide places to sleep and with sustenance en-route. We were privileged to find ourselves part of God’s plan when we hosted As Isaac for one night. We found ourselves overwhelmed by the blessing of being around these brothers and sisters in Christ, and listening not only to their songs, but also to their story of how God has held their hands and met their needs throughout their travels.
The example set by As Isaac reminds me of how Jesus sent seventy-two disciples out on their first mission. It must have seemed mission impossible to the disciples, just as it did to Beth when she responded to the call to join YFC, and to As Isaac when God pointed across the ocean and told them to go. Perhaps that is the key to understanding God’s call when it comes? If it doesn’t seem like mission impossible then possibly it isn’t God doing the calling? But it shouldn’t just be a challenge to mission that results in journeys that create a total reliance on our Heavenly Father. Surely we should be trusting Him in this way every day?
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveller’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay. (Luke 10:1-7 NLT)