Chapter 38 Steps Towards Missions
Barbara talked a lot about her experiences in France with Operation Mobilization [a large mission group specializing in short term trips], detailing the many good things she’d learned, the difficult experiences she’d had and the vision OM had given her.
She was on OM’s mailing list and one day the mail brought us an invitation to a big OM conference in Detroit. We prayed about going and sent in our application.
At Barbara’s suggestion we began a monthly prayer meeting in our home on a Saturday night. The first hour or so was given to worship only: no requests, just focusing on giving God glory.
Then we would turn to intercession for the world. OM had produced a pack of cards about the spiritually neediest nations of the world. Each card gave facts about a particular nation and specific prayer requests. We would each take a card and pray for the needs of that nation.
This began to open my eyes to the spiritual needs of the world. Our church was very missions-minded, supporting a good number of missionaries and they all came to speak at our church at different times. So I’d had input about foreign missions, but God was about to take me to another level of worldview.
It was June of 1975 when we drove out to the OM conference in Detroit. Barbara was getting quite round with her pregnancy, although from the back, you wouldn’t know she was expecting; she only gained weight in the front. Overall, her pregnancy went well with very little discomfort until the end, so the trip was not a hardship for her.
The conference was beyond anything I’d ever been to with thousands of attendees in a large hall, seated together in a great horseshoe. There were powerful talks, clear presentations of the needs, especially of the Muslim world and opportunities to join outreaches in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. I was ready to jump right on the next plane—but Barbara’s pregnancy clearly dictated against this.
During one worship time near the end of the conference we were singing a song of praise when people at one end of the hall began to laugh: it was a happy, sparkling laughter. The sound moved across the room like a wind. When it came to us, we laughed too: free, joyful laughter that left us refreshed and alert as the wave passed on to others. A movement of the Spirit? I would say so: God sharing His joy from our worship.
On our drive back to Connecticut we talked more about going on an OM outreach the next summer and committed to pray about it.
We stopped at the college I’d graduated from in Gettysburg on the way home and had a good chat with one of my old psychology professor. I told him how God had worked in my life in so many ways, and how He’d answered so many prayers. “For example, I prayed for a wife, and just see what He gave me!” I concluded, putting my arm around my beautiful wife, who was glowing with the healthy bloom of pregnancy.
“Well, that’s certainly a good advertisement for your faith!” said the professor, smiling.
Picture: our harvest from Barbara’s garden that fall