The following is a letter that I wrote to all my supporters and prayer warriors who encouraged me through various means before and during my trip to Malawi, Africa. The total letter is five pages long, but I will be posting one section of the letter up per day. I hope this is a blessing to all my readers and an encouragement to those who want a glimpse of the global God that we as Christians worship. God Bless!
2. Our God Blesses the Faithful
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. (Philippians 1:21-22)
All too often, we forget to memorize verse 22. “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” That means that our lives, if we live for Christ, is full of fruitful labor for the Lord. Indeed our greatest blessing, our greatest gain is Christ, and it is a blessing that overflows into every aspect of life. But the Lord does not forget those who obey his commands with their labors. It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile. This concept was one I brought with me to Malawi and one that I saw played out in the hearts and lives of the missionaries we stayed with and spent time with.
We stayed with the Matt and Rachel Floreen and their one-year old daughter, Abigail (extremely cute baby). Matt and Rachel were married only a few months before moving to Malawi to serve at IBF: Matt as the pastor in charge administration, and Rachel as the essential helper. Then they had Abigail, and they were introduced into a whole new world of raising an infant in a foreign land. But I saw how their every moment was devoted to expending themselves for the fruitful labor that the Lord would have them do. And as a result, the Lord had blessed them immensely for their faithfulness, providing for their every need in Malawi.
Their spiritual and practical guidance proved invaluable. They were extremely hospitable and provided almost every meal for us. They informed us about all the do’s and don’ts of Malawi, including calming our fears about malaria. Matt even helped me through a cultural misunderstanding that I had with one of the students (it wasn’t a huge deal, but one that needed clarification…it all ended well, don’t worry). But even more helpful was seeing how normal yet unique their lives were. They are a young couple that has already devoted themselves to a life of mission work, and yet they were completely normal! I’ll admit I thought there would be something strange about them at first, but every night I had time to talk to Matt and pick his brain about living in Africa, especially as a father and a husband. It was clear that he had full confidence in the provision of the Lord, in the faithfulness of God. Not only were they set on an extended stay in Malawi, but they were overjoyed to be used by the Lord for this ministry! My heart was filled just listening to their experiences, all of which focused on God’s goodness in their lives both individually and in their family.
Through this family, I was really able to see God’s blessings on those he loves. Now, these may not necessarily be the blessings that world considers, but the blessings manifested themselves in an obvious joy exuded in laboring for Christ. Their family possessed a united peace that I’ve rarely witness but is contagious when you’re around it. Needless to say, I walked away from this family with an altered view of mission work, and a renewed love for those who are on the mission field.