We just made a big decision – one of those decisions that requires a leap of faith and much trust. It was one that we were excited about and longed for deep in our hearts. We had just made a decision to move our family to North Africa to join Cafe 1040 overseas to mentor students into clarity and confidence around their desire to tell the story of Jesus where it has never been told.
My wife and I began having the necessary conversations with our company leadership about how to prepare to move our family overseas in ways that would help set us and our entire team up for success.
Our team leaders strongly suggested that we purchase a vehicle in our new base town, which at first we were reluctant to commit to. Obviously a vehicle would be helpful, but the public transportation in our town is excellent. Even more than that, we had to think about our financial sending team who has been and will continue to support our family and work overseas. We knew that this would be a large sum of money above and beyond our normal budget, and we were hesitant to ask our team which has already been so faithful and generous over the years.
After praying about this need and getting a better understanding of what our travel needs would be in country we began to see the wisdom in the recommendation. Not to mention, living in a country closed to the Gospel, the potential of a quick-notice evacuation is something that a vehicle would greatly help us with in a time of need.
GOD KNOWS BEFORE WE ASK
A few individuals on our support team had us on their hearts to ask us about any specific, additional needs we had as we began our assignment in North Africa. We responded and communicated our new need, and virtually overnight, all the needed funds for a vehicle were provided! Praise God for his quick and abundant provision!
After settling into our new city overseas, we were quickly connected with a missionary family in a city a few hours away who had a vehicle they had babied, cared for, and now needed to sell in order to get something larger for their growing family. Not only did this allow us to buy a maintained vehicle from someone we could trust, but it also helped this family further along in their own ministry and their needs. Only God could orchestrate such a plan.
God’s hand of provision has only continued to be upon this vehicle situation. We bought the vehicle in May, completing the necessary paperwork and insurance, and packed up shortly after to drive out of country to pickup our next team of students in our newly provided vehicle, before we were stopped by the local police.
We had already gone through customs to exit the country and board a ferry to cross into our excursion destination when we were stopped only meters from the ferry. The officer once again checked our passports, and asked for our vehicle papers and registration.
He paused. It was a valid, stamped, temporary registration good for 60 days until the local government issues the permanent version. Although perfectly valid, it was up to this border guard how he felt in the moment, and he did not like this document.
He said bluntly that we could not leave. The vehicle had to stay. My wife and I felt a lump in our throats. We immediately turned to pray in our hearts that God would melt this man’s heart and that God would give us favor and allow us to pass onto the ferry. These were a few intense moments. I continued to patiently point to the word which translates to “valid” time and time again and politely told him it was a good document, showing him all my other official papers too. Our team leader came over at this point to see what the issue was. We continued to silently pray and believe that God would in fact allow us to leave the country despite this officer’s objections.
SOMETIMES GOD ACTS IN POWERFUL AND TENDER WAYS
One thing we absolutely love about our Arab neighbors is that they love babies and love children! What happened next is proof of this. We had the windows down at this point for the officer to see the faces of the children as he checked their passports. My wife and our team leader began to tell him that the children needed their belongings and needed their car seats to be legal once we crossed the border. “Please, it’s for the children!” His face visibly softened as he took a breath, looked at the ferry, looked back at us, paused, and slowly waved us through. We caught our breath and thanked him, and moved onto the ferry.
I was drenched from nervous sweat, relieved beyond words, and thankful to have witnessed how God had directly intervened in that moment to allow us through. Our God is a provider.