A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dear Sister--Letters of Hope and Encouragement

I am reading a wonderful book by Gisela Yohannan. Her husband oversees a large missions ministry within India and surrounding countries. The letters of this book are left in their original form, so some are years old.

Someone once told me that if you can't preach what you preach in every country in the world, it is not the gospel. These letters, though written to women in 11 different cultures, apply, in every culture, every country, every woman's life. So on Fridays, I will be posting a chapter of this book and I pray that it will speak to you as women and bring us all closer to Christ and one another. If you would like to read it yourself, it is a free download from gfa.org.

Here is the first one: Unity Validates Your Message

Dear Sister,

Perhaps you are surprised to receive a letter from me. Actually, I would much rather visit you and get to know you personally. But even if I could travel twice as often as I do now, I still could not get to all the places where Gospel for Asia (GFA) works.

Did you know that GFA has more than 2000 sisters in 11 countries, eastern and western, who are an important part of this ministry? Many of them are full-time workers on the mission field, in our training centers and offices. Others are wives of Believers Church pastors or GFA staff.

I strongly believe that the Lord wants to use every one of us sisters to touch the lives of millions of unreached people in Asia and help being them to Jesus.Since all of us are scattered across so many nations and mission fields, I asked our GFA leadership if I could start a bimonthly letter just to the sisters. They were happy to give their permission and set up a system so that you can receive my letters in your language.

the purpose of these letters is to encourage you in your calling and also help you realize that you are not alone, but are actually part of a large family that loves you and cares about you. In each letter, we will talk about on important issue that concerns us as sisters, so we can become better wives and servants of God. The letter will also include several specific prayer requests from our mission fields. This will give all of us the opportunity to pray together and believe God for definite answers. I am convinced that as we unite our hearts in intercession and in pursuing His purpose, God will draw us sisters together in unity, and we will begin to feel that indeed we are part of each others lives and ministries.

In this first letter, I would like to share a few thoughts about why unity among us is extremely important to God. Please take the time to carefully read each scripture reference you see.

We are to reflect God's nature. More than anything else, unity based on love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, demonstrates the nature of God to a world that is torn into thousands of pieces by strife, wars and hatred. All these directly result from man's selfishness and pride, their demanding and fighting for their own rights at the expense of others.

God on the other hand, is a Trinity that exists in perfect unity. God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit never compete with each other for anything.

God's plan is that when people watch our lives, they should see a true reflection of His nature in us. That's why Jesus prayed for His followers just before He went to the cross: "...that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us" (John 17:21). It's a very serious and sobering truth. We generally think that preaching confirmed by healings and miracles will cause people to believe in Jesus. But now we discover in Jesus' prayer that unless God's work is backed up by our unity, we actually destroy the credibility of the Gospel. That should alarm us enough to honestly examine our home life, our teamwork and our relationship with our husband, co-workers, leaders and church members.

Unity transforms us into a mighty force. Imagine a cart with a heavy load on it and 20 people each trying to pull it into a different direction How successful will they be to get to the next village? You know the answer. they will never make it unless they make up their minds and everyone pulls in the same direction.

Similarly, if people unite together in a cause, nothing will be impossible for them. That's what God said in Genesis 11:6 about the ungodly people who set out to build the Tower of Babel. How much truer should this statement be of us, whom God has called to build His kingdom?

Much frustration and lack of success in our ministries can often be traced back to the fact that our hearts are not united. If there is any resentment in your heart toward your leader, your co-worker, your husband or the ministry--even if you never express it is words--you have created a roadblock for God's Spirit to move.

What all could happen? Imagine for a moment--what could happen in your home, your mission field, our GFA ministry and your nation":

...if you and your husband were truly united in reaching the lost, and you would no longer seek for a comfortable life?

...if you and your co-workers would stop envying each others gifts and there would be unity on the team?

...if we as 2000 sisters began to pray daily for one another and the lost world, and God could mold us together into a powerful force whose only desire was to reach Asia for Christ?

Unity does not come without a price! It starts with a deliberate decision on our part to humble ourselves as Jesus did, to willingly lay down our rights and desires and submit to the will of God with all our heart (Phil. 2:5- ).

If we struggle to hold on to something we count so dear, let us consider this: Our life here on earth is so short. Unless we make our decision with eternity in mind, we will definitely miss God's plan.

My dear Sister, may I suggest that you save this letter so you can study this issue of unity further, whether privately, with your c0-workers or during your regular GFA sister's meeting. The most important thing is to ask yourself after each point, "how can I practically apply what God has shown me?" Unless you make specific decisions and take actual steps to implement them, you will not experience any spiritual growth in this area of unity. My sincere prayer is that all of us sisters will desire to become one in Jesus and be used by Him.

She then continues on with some prayer requests, which when they deal with her subject matter, I will include as well.

I believe the principles in this letter are powerful, not just for missionary wives, but any body of believers that claim to be a body, be it minister's wives, a local church body of women, a prayer group, a Bible study, or a family. How often we have things in our hearts towards one another that we decide not to let show and we think that it will be enough. But it isn't. We must have pure hearts before God as well and He sees everything. Sometimes I have something in my heart that I know about. I don't want it to be there, but I forget that I cannot change my own heart simply by willing it so. So I just lift it to the Lord, telling Him that I don't want it and to please take it and make my heart right. I used to think that I could pray right things and it would change my heart, but now I realize that I must have a changed heart so that I can pray right things. I must keep humble before God realizing that I can do nothing without Him.

And sometimes I have things in my heart that I don't know about. All I know is that I'm feeling out of sorts. My peace is interuppted, my joy level is low. I can't place my finger on what it is. So I go to the Lord and ask Him to show me and you know what? He always does. Then I can continue on by confessing it and letting Him take it from me.

Our lives are to be ones of righteousness, peace and joy. If they are, others will see, the Holy Spirit can move and the world can come to know Jesus.

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