A few weeks ago, I took an Iranian man, Robert*, to the post office to see if he could find some boxes he had been looking for in the mail for weeks. He shipped seven boxes of books to his new address here in Fort Worth before he left Malaysia about three months ago. The boxes were long overdue and only one had arrived. When we went to the post office we waited in the long, end of the day line that's always there in the afternoon. For a while, I passed the time on my phone. When I started to get impatient God prompted me to pray. He said: "You have not because you ask not." So, I put my phone away and silently prayed that the boxes would be there. About 10 minutes later, after looking at all the tracking numbers, they came out with a cart full of all of his boxes. I believe because of my obedience to God in that moment, it was His good pleasure to answer my prayer and show me how powerful He is no matter how simple the request.
I had my first experience teaching ESL last Thursday afternoon! I met an Afghani woman, Paige* a few weeks ago, and saw her at a weekly ESL event at one of the apartment complexes on Wednesday night. One of my Iranian friends, Yanna* was there with her too. After we talked that night, I set up a time to practice English again with both of them again the next day. I prepared to go through Matthew 6:25-34 with them using a resource I found from an ESL website. I prayed through it and was really excited. When I arrived the next day at Yanna's* home, she called Paige* and found out that she was not feeling well and could not come. Initially, I was disappointed because Paige* is not a believer and I really wanted to share a Bible story with Paige*. However, I still got to share the story with Yanna* who is a believer and was encouraged by her. She said it would be a great story to share with Paige* another time and was so thankful that I taught her so many new English words. I could have let the circumstances keep me down, but I'm so glad God used it for his glory and gave me patience when learning how to teach English for the first time. And maybe I will get another chance to share with Paige*.
A couple of weeks ago, it stormed for the first time in months. Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat this summer and the lack of rain, my windshield wipers ripped in the storm while I was driving to work. By God's grace I was almost there when it happened so there was no harm done. Later that afternoon when the rain had cleared up, I went to go get new windshield wipers while I was waiting for a family to finish with an appointment. Everything was great until they called me to tell me they were finished right in the middle of the guy changing out the wipers. Thinking it would only take a few minutes, I told them I would be there with the van to pick them up shortly. Then, he started having trouble trying to get them to go on and realized he had the wrong ones. 15 minutes later, I finally left after he ended up putting the best brand on my car (no extra charge) praise God! Then there was a train. By the time I was able to pick up this family it had been almost 35 minutes since they called me. I felt bad, but they were so patient and thankful for the ride I gave them. I was so thankful for the grace that they gave me. As frustrating as all of that was in the moment, I am thankful God used the patience of that family as an example for me and for God even blessed me with special windshield wipers too!
Last Thursday, I took a Nepali woman, Sierra* to apply for a job and an interview. She speaks some English, but understands more than she speaks. She had to fill out a lot of forms before and after the interview. I helped her with some of the forms, but I could not help with others because they were a test of her own abilities for the job. Due to the fact she is still learning English, it took longer than I expected.
While I waited, I was trying to pass time on my phone and God prompted me to pray for her; to pray for her to get the job and to pray for her salvation. We were there for about 2.5 hours alone, not including the driving to get there (about 30 minutes each way). When we got back in the van all I wanted to do was get her home and eat lunch. I could have just drove the whole way back easily without saying a word. But, God gave me this thought: "How can I spend this much time with someone who probably hasn't heard of Jesus and not share the Gospel with her?" So I went for it.
I found out she was Hindu because she had grown up in a culture where that was what everyone around her believed. I asked her if she had ever heard of Jesus and she initially said no. As I drove her home, I shared the Gospel with her and asked her again at the end if she had ever heard this story. She said "yes" this time and told me that she had heard if from other caseworkers from World Relief. She didn't have much response after that. Even though she didn't say much, she at least heard the same Gospel others have been sharing with her again. What could have been a time of impatience in driving, God used it to empower me to share my faith for the first time this semester. Knowing that I was faithful to share, I pray the seed was watered and that one day it will grow and she will become interested in Jesus.
Whether or not you read the stories above, they have one thing in common: God being glorified through patience and obedience. Typically, I'm a pretty patient person, but I'm learning more and more how much I need to depend God instead of staying frustrated at the situation. Each refugee in these stories was thankful for my help. They didn't complain when things took a long time, they gave me grace when I made mistakes, and God was glorified through it all. Some of them know Jesus and some of them don't, but the point is God used all of them to point me back to Jesus. I hope to be more like them, to be more patient and thankful. Even more, I hope to be more like Jesus as he grows me through challenges this semester. Above all, I hope to persevere through each challenge I face and never give up because Jesus never gives up on me.
* Names have been changed.
Chelsea Turner is serving as a Go Now semester missionary in Fort Worth.