In May, I am headed to a country in West Africa (not disclosed for security reasons) for the dedication of a saw mill TWR Canada donors funded. I had to pull out my old passports to find out the dates of the last few times I had been in that country in order to apply for a visa. As I was flipping through the pages, I kept seeing Ghana stamps in my passports and I was reminded of the many trips I had taken there. There have been many occasions where what I had planned didn’t work, but God showed up with a better plan.
In the early 2000’s, TWR was trying to get a broadcast licence in West Africa. Plans to broadcast from Burkina Faso had fallen through before I got there, and I had been part of the team trying to negotiate a licence with the government of Ghana. Over two years, I visited Ghana at least 10 times.
We never did get the licence. In our own power and wisdom, we had tried to get this licence but it all happened in God’s timing. I was in the United States and met with my long-time friend McDaniel Phillips who suggested we meet with President Kérékou. He had openly become a Christian a few years previously. Kérékou paved the way for us to get a licence. (Read that story here
Sometimes, despite our best plans, things just do not work out the way we envisioned them to. I have learned that God always has a plan and he works it out in his own timing. The time I spent in Ghana was not wasted as some key partnerships were established on those visits along with the decision to translate Thru The Bible into Twi (one of the most widely spoken languages in Ghana).
When I first applied to be a missionary, it was not with TWR. My wife and I met with a representative from OMF, who was good friends with one of TWR’s reps (at the time). He suggested that TWR might be a better fit and after a time passed on my name. I didn’t initiate the application to serve with TWR, but now I am President!
God had the right person in the right place to make sure I got where he wanted me to be, outside of my own wisdom.
China from an unbeliever to a leader of ministry and a new missionary force…
One of our national workers in China, Tracy,
came to Canada with her husband and daughter but didn’t speak English. She didn’t know anyone. Through her daughter, she attended a church and came to follow Christ. She went through Seminary on the Air and then attended seminary so she could return to China a missionary. She’s been in China leading SOTA for several years now. Today, SOTA has graduated students serving in remote parts of China and Nepal.
Coming to Canada was not her plan. Learning about Christ and becoming a Christian had not been her plan. Yet, look at the impact of God’s hand on her life! (Read more of Tracy’s story here
A couple of pictures I took in Malawi...
Malawi – a single station to a network in God’s perfect timing…
TWR has an extensive FM network in Malawi, but I do not know how many people are aware of how that got started. We had one FM station in Malawi, but there was always the hope to expand that reach. My boss, Stephen was in Malawi often, and on one particular visit while in the capital he wanted to meet with the president of the country. Our team had worked hard to arrange it, but it looked like the plan would not come together. Stephen could not get in to see the president during the day and was told it would not happen on this trip.
Later that night, after Stephen had gone to bed, he got a phone call to come and meet with the president. The team met with President Mulizi and learned he had listened to the one FM station in Malawi and liked it so much that he wanted to make sure the entire country could hear those broadcasts. Permission was granted the very next day! All of Malawi can still listen to TWR today because of that God appointed late night meeting.
God’s timing is not our timing and throughout my 30 years with TWR, I have time and again seen God work out the details. I should have kept a journal because it would be full of these many missed appointments that turned out to be God’s perfect timing. I am sure I have forgotten quite a few. That journal would be very full.
Romans 5:6 says, “…at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Christ’s arrival was not by chance but at an appointed time. This tells me that all things are done in God’s perfect timing. In the midst of chaos, God is still working things out in his perfect time.
Can you share a time where you have seen God’s perfect timing change the direction of your life or ministry?