Some months ago I posted about how the disappearance of our cat allowed for another mother cat and two kittens to take up residence in the rafters of our house. I posed a question. Do you have someone watching over your spiritual life to make sure that undesirable things don’t creep into your life? Those were honest thoughts from one who has often “gone it alone” as a missionary. Either for fear of showing favoritism or fear of too much vulnerability a missionary might hesitate to take those steps. But I felt it was time to get over those excuses. I was helped along this path in a most unlooked-for place.
Last year when we were on Home Ministries there was not a day that went by that we were not looking forward to our return to Brazil. I often wondered what was taking so long. Well, of course as I look back I can see God’s hand orchestrating everything. One such instance was when we were passing through Michigan on one of our last weeks (we hoped) in the U.S., still waiting for the okay to buy airline tickets. We stopped in at my sister’s house in Spring Arbor. Unbeknownst to us they had a particular need. They wondered if we could stay a few extra days to watch their teenage boys while they took a short trip. Knowing that this would be the last time we would see our nephews for a long time we agreed to do it. Although I loved being with my nephews I chafed at not being back in Brazil. I went to the university church that morning with less than worshipful thoughts. “Are you ever going to send us back to Brazil, Jesus?” I asked
That Sunday I heard a sermon that challenged me and has changed the direction of my spiritual walk. Had Jesus brought me there just so I could understand His heart better and see gaping my need? Of course he did.
The pastor spoke that October Sunday on John Wesley’s timeless plan for maintaining spiritual vitality. Yes, John Wesley established the Societies and the Class meetings but he also developed bands, where 3 or 4 people met weekly to ask some hard questions, such as:
- In what ways have you sinned this week?
- In what ways have you been tempted?
- How were you victorious?
- What have you done that you are not sure if it was a sin or not?
These are the kinds of questions that keep one honest, humble and advancing in holiness of heart and life. Would I find some other Brazilian ladies who craved the same thing? Yes!
Since our first November meeting we have seen amazing answers to prayer and a spiritual hardiness that only comes from confession and frank discussions. I know that I have these women who pray for my specific needs. I am comforted that there are at least 2 ladies who know me with all my faults and still like me.
I would encourage you to pray and find some kindred spirits who want to walk this road with you and who will eagerly help you up when you fall and rejoice when small advances are made. So may be it is time you joined a band.