Sandy, a behind-the-scenes missionary with GFA, shares her family’s journey through 20 years of dedicated service. Still today, she and her husband Ralph face the unfinished task together, all for the sake of Christ and His love.
Although my husband Ralph and I were both raised in Christian homes, we had become very disillusioned within the church. We felt there had to be more to the Christian life than works and the fear that we would never be good enough for Heaven. After much prayer and searching, we discovered three things that changed our lives: grace, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We have not been the same since.
Desiring to Serve the Lord Together
In 1997, after my husband completed a degree in business information systems, it was apparent to Ralph and me that we needed to use this skill for God. But we had no idea how to even begin. All we knew was that we wanted to work together as a team for the Lord. We heard an advertisement on the radio about a national Christian job placement service that could help us. After applying for ministries all over the country and asking God to send us wherever He wanted, Gospel for Asia’s response was the only one we received.
We are probably one of the few couples on staff who had no prior knowledge of Gospel for Asia or national missionaries. When we found out we would need to raise support, it was very intimidating. But after reading Revolution in World Missions, we knew this was where God wanted us to serve and that He would provide.
God never ceased to amaze us and show us His faithfulness. Two weeks after returning home from our interview with Gospel for Asia, someone called us and wanted to buy our house. We had not advertised or listed it yet—we hadn’t even told anyone we were leaving! Now we had no place to live and still needed to raise our support goal. Then, in response to one of the support letters we mailed, a couple we had known only three months prior opened their home to us to live with them until our support was raised.
Dream Job or God’s Calling?
We had mailed letters and contacted everyone on our family list, our friend list, our acquaintance list and our friends-of-acquaintances list. Our support came in steadily for about five months and then seemed to dry up. Now we had to really put our faith out there.
I asked the Lord in my quiet time one morning to show us once again our calling and to do something to encourage our faith. I met a lady at the bank later that same day whom I had never seen or met before. After chatting, the lady asked a few questions, and I shared with her our calling to GFA. The lady said that the Lord had given her the gift of giving and she wanted to support us! For the past 20 years that we have served with GFA, she has supported us faithfully every month.
Ralph continued working at his job while we raised support. We were at 75 percent of our support goal when his company offered Ralph his dream job, as well as a huge raise in pay and grade level. There was a deadline to accept the job, and we didn’t have our support fully raised, so Ralph told me on Friday before the deadline to start looking for a place to live and settle down in again. That same afternoon we received a phone call from Brother K.P., the founder of GFA, informing us that a church we had never been to or contacted was going to support us for the exact amount we needed to bring our support goal to 100 percent. Talk about humbling!
The church we had been members of for 15 years wasn’t supporting us, so it blew us away that God would use a church body we had never met, to support us in this way. Once again, we were humbled by His faithfulness!
Now we continued on course, declined the job and were on our way to Texas! To think that God could use us to impact the world with Christ’s love was both exciting and fearful. Would we be good enough? Would we be spiritual enough?
Not a Matter of Being ‘Good Enough’
When we arrived in Texas, it was 110 degrees and everyone from GFA was there to help unload the truck. They actually thanked us for coming and for our hearts to serve the Lord and prayed for us! We quickly found out the answers to our anxious questions: It is not a matter of whether you are good enough or spiritual enough, but whether you are obedient to what He asks of you.
Prayer Always Comes First
Of everything we do at Gospel for Asia, prayer has impacted our lives the most. We pray as individuals, pray in the halls and offices and pray as a staff. No matter what is happening, prayer is what we do first. Ralph and I had never prayed together as a couple before coming to GFA. To this day it is still mind-boggling, humbling and overwhelming to think that the God of the universe bends His ear to hear our prayers..
I remember after we first got to GFA, I really messed up on a project and was crying as I told my leaders. I just knew in my heart that we would be asked to leave or, at the very least, get a heavy reprimand. After tearfully telling them what I had done, the first thing they said was, “Let’s pray about it.”
I thought they didn’t understand how critical this situation was and repeated what had happened. They said, “Let’s pray about it.” So, we did. Then I saw God turn the entire situation around and answer in such a way that had we done what was originally planned, it would have failed. He taught me that day to rely on His plan, not my own, and to always seek Him first!
The Privilege and the Challenge
Being called by God to serve at Gospel for Asia is a privilege. Unfortunately, some days it feels like it is just an ordinary job. It is difficult to stay in the battle day after day when it seems as though you have a target on your back for the enemy to mess with. Some days you can quickly lose focus on Who you are serving and then everything starts going downhill. Although you are working in a Christian environment, there is still the flesh to deal with.
At times like this, I have my rocks of remembrance of how God brought us here and the call He has placed on our lives. When I can “peel away the layers of the onion” and get down to the basic fact that God called me, not to what I want when I want it or how I want it, but to do it His way, then I can rest in Him.