I have a young friend in college who has had the desire to go on a short-term mission trip this summer. She wanted to work in an orphanage or school with younger children. She asked for my help in finding a place for her to go. After a short time, we found a mission in Central America that my church supports that had a school and that could accommodate her availability. At first I was skeptical about her desire to go; a number of her friends at college were going on summer trips. I wondered if this was an emotional decision instead of a legitimate call by the Holy Spirit to serve in this way. I was concerned that she had never been out of the county before, she did not speak spanish, and would be going by herself—not with a group. My reservations changed to assurance that she was being called to go as every door that needed to open did and all the finances came in.
The closer the day came to go however, the more she started to doubt herself. I thought this was just natural jitters given her personality and what she was doing. But no sooner did she get there that she had a panic attack and made up her mind to leave. I spent almost two hours on Facebook trying to talk her into staying to no avail.
The next day I got news that some drug cartels were acting up near where she was and that the US was discouraging travel to the country she was in. While I was assured that these reports were far enough away from the mission where she was serving, it did not help my own growing concern for her situation.
That afternoon, I received a call from an international number on my cell phone. I thought it was Shelby calling to talk, or the mission calling to talk to me about how to help her get through her panic attack. The man introduced himself as Caleb Wanjala, a pastor in Kenya who had come across my website and wanted to ask if I would consider mentoring him. I was not prepared for that. My first inclination was that this was a new kind of scam. But then I thought, why call internationally if it is a scam? Why not just email? This would certainly be an expensive way to “phish” for potential victims. I also knew that God had literally dropped several of the missionaries our church supports right into our laps in similar ways.
Long story short…. My friend came home the following day, after having hardly been gone 72 hours. And after cautiously proceeding and doing some research, I came to the conclusion that Caleb was really a pastor looking for a mentor. So now, Wednesday afternoons, he calls and we talk and pray for each other for 30-45 minutes.
“What is the point?” you say. The point is this: The only reason I answered my phone was because I was sure it was my friend or the mission calling me. That is the only reason I answered the phone.
What if, God orchestrated my friend going out of the country, for the purpose of putting me in a position where He knew I would take a call from an international number? Had the situation been any different I never would have picked up, and probably would never have returned a message if one had been left, suspecting some kind of scam. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this is in fact exactly what happened. Our God is sovereign, wise, and—can I say it—crafty. I love Him.