We counted down the days until our departure day for Germany and Ireland. We were beyond excited and, admittedly, a little nervous. Thankfully, we were not disappointed! Our trip was fantastic, and we came back with more assurance than ever that God is calling us to the mission field and wants us to go serve in Ireland. However, coming back from a trip like that is much like how you feel right after a week of camp, CIY, a great revival, mission trip, CCYC, you get the idea. You are on a spiritual high! You are ready to do whatever this whole past week was encouraging you to do! Go serve. Go love people. Be a better Christ follower. For us, we were ready to get our full support and move to Ireland to serve as soon as possible!
And then we were hit with reality…back to work! Grades are due, clothes to wash, bills to pay, car needs to be fixed, go buy groceries, sell the old phones, get the refunds for those canceled flights, write a sermon for Sunday, and “Holy cow why am I so tired? Oh yeah, jet lag!”
It seems like there’s not enough time in the day to do everyday things, much less write support letters, make phone calls, set up appointments, and give presentations. Support raising is job all by itself. And of course we are still faced with those who don’t want to financially support us or just don’t think we should go altogether. Needless to say, it can be quite discouraging.
That’s why we thank God for “people shots.”
Many Americans, Luke Swain included, like to take espresso shots by themselves or in a drink as a pick-me-up to get through a long, tiring day. In the same way, God blesses us with people shots – those who give us little or big shots of encouragement that help us keep on going. Some of our espresso experiences have included:
- Our first church says yes to supporting us
- A little brother volunteering to give $25/month
- A text from a far away friend who says “I know God is going to use you to do great things in Ireland!”
- Someone we rarely talk to call out of the blue just to pray for us
- A previous student, who is now working their way through college, starts giving $200/month
- A meal with a preacher/old friend who reminds us that the past is in the past and to keep on serving
- A little sister who paints us a picture of an Irish flag with a clover on it to hang in our room
- A newly married couple who searches out our number and texts us to ask if they can support us monthly (um, yeah!)
- Going for a walk with Allie and running into someone who heard what we are going to do and says they want to give us $50/month
- Multiple acquaintances who we had no idea knew what was going on or even cared and who tell us they have been praying for us
- An old co-worker asks us to be their missionaries for VBS and their week of camp
And we could keep going with people God has used to encourage us in this slow, and sometimes painful process. If you have been one of those people (whether listed above or not), thank you for being a shot of encouragement to us! We WILL get to Ireland and share the love of Jesus with those living there! God will provide! Thank you for being living examples of these verses:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The following verses have also been encouraging to us. We hope they can encourage you too for whatever strength you need! And don’t forget to take notice of the “people shots” that God provides you with!
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.