It was about three weeks ago in a Missions Conference that the Lord began to really convict my heart about the way I was responding to Visa challenges. For those of you who may not know, I’m currently applying for a Permanent Residency Visa in Australia, which has proven to be a very difficult process.
Currently the issue is Immigration requiring the Church where I serve (Cornerstone Baptist Church) become an incorporated business, this has been delayed because the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone is in the states, and it would be too complicated of a process to do from here. That and some other challenges will keep me from being in Australia until mid to late 2014 (I take full responsibility for this since I was trying to get the process done before he left).
The most annoying part is I can’t do ANYTHING until the Church has become Incorporated (won’t happen to January at the earliest…maybe March). The combination of knowing that God had called me to Australia along with the long waiting period eventually started to frustrate me.
That’s when I began looking for ways to move the Visa Process along. After phone calls, conversations, emails, Facebook messages, and more than a few strategic plans it became clear that nothing would take place till the Churches paperwork had been processed. Instead of submitting to this as the Lord’s Will though I continued looking for a way to push the Visa Process along, while God each time showed He had closed this door for a period of time.
The Lord used two Missions Conferences I took part in recently to show there are doors of ministry that He has opened for me during my time in the States. And walking through the doors that He has opened is much easier than trying to force open a door that has been closed (which will NEVER happen). The opportunity God did open was going to the unsaved in my own community with the Gospel.
There are volunteering ministries I’ve been involved with, but lately my heart hasn’t been in them too much (it’s in Australia) which resulted in just going through the motions. However the Lord helped me realize these opportunities are a huge part of His plan for my life right now, so I asked the Lord a few weeks ago to help me embrace the door He has opened…God responded in amazing ways.
I was signing in at a running group I’m a part of (we run on Mondays and Thursdays) when Steve (not his real name) one of the members walked up to me. Steve knew I was a Baptist Minister since I had told him about a month ago, but we hadn’t talked much about it since then. “Hey I was wondering if you could give me some advice” he said, and explained that there were some serious issues between himself and a co-worker who he was having a hard time forgiving.
A moment later we got into our groups to start running, but the Holy Spirit kept telling me I needed to pray with Steve since he didn’t have the strength to forgive someone on his own (none of us do)that can only come through Christ.
After our training I eventually caught up with Steve and asked if I could pray for him. He gave me permission and I asked the Lord to help my friend have the strength to forgive those who hated him while turning to God for help. When we were finished Steve told me he had “walked away from that religion stuff” a long time ago but wanted to learn more about it, so we have set up a time to have a “religious conversation” over coffee .
The Lord in the last week has opened some more amazing doors of ministry (more about that tomorrow) to prove there is indeed a plan for me here. My heart will always be in Australia….but it’s a blessing to know that God does open doors for me here in the States, and it’s as we walk through those doors He opens that we truly experience His blessing.