There we stood, in a Safeway, in the middle of a town, in the middle of nowhere—kind of. Charlie had heard that there were refugees in this town and had suggested that we go find them and scout out the possibility of sharing the gospel. The only problem was we didn’t know where to look. We stood next to the in-store Starbucks and talked to the manager on duty. She told us about an apartment complex on the other side of the tracks. So all 5 of us climbed in the car and headed in the right direction.
I would be lying if I said that it was my favorite thing to go talk to new people, let alone people who are from a country on the other side of the world. But when you hang out with people who do enjoy doing that kind of thing, you tend to find yourself in those types of situations. I was timid when I first heard the idea that we could stop over on our way to Nebraska and check out the situation. I was even a bit counter to the thought, but I never said that out loud.
When we pulled up everything looked the same, there were apartments and cars and people going about. It only took a minute for us to spot some people to talk to; two women from Kenya. After our conversation with them we headed deeper into the complex, and found a park, and playing on the jungle gym was a bunch of kids. So we did what any normal person would do and started playing! It was a good time. I felt like I was back in Africa. Little girls running around in full Muslim garb, head covering and all. Names like Ibrahim and Salakea and Muhamed being called out across the jungle gym. It was a good time, but a short time. Walking out of little-Africa that afternoon I had no real thoughts on the experience, other than that it was fun.
Several months pass. It’s now somewhere in October and I’m sitting in a car in the middle of the African bush, in Hadzabe land, doing my quiet time with the Lord. And he puts Fort Morgan on my heart. I wrote it down, as is my procedure when listening to God’s voice and did not think a lot more of it.
A couple more months pass and I am now at home in Colorado, once again in quiet time with the Lord and he yet again puts Fort Morgan on my heart. This time it catches my attention to a far greater degree. In a conversation about missions with some young adults at my church I bring up the idea. One of them tells me about a family she knows who lives in Fort Morgan, I get their contact. I feel God’s continued encouragement to peruse ministry opportunities in Fort Morgan. So within the month I have made plans to visit on a Saturday and discuss what God has in store.
It’s a warm march day, completely different from the raging snow showers of the week before. I meet my contact, Brent, and his family, Valery and Charissa, at noon. They feed me lunch and tell me about what God is up to in them, in their church and in their town. We head over to the refugee apartment complex around 1:30 and something tells me that we need a soccer ball. We find some kids and start a pick-up game. Soon there are enough kids to play a full on match. It’s a great time.
At the end of the day I talk with Brent and Valerie about what God might have in store. I have a new burden. I want to bring a group of youth for a longer period of time and see if we can’t build some relationships. They are in favor, but we leave the conversation open ended.
Some more time passes and I call them wondering about what God has been speaking to them. I have just felt the continued push to go and do ministry there. Brent and Valery have a vision. They say, let’s put on some VBS-type events. We will have an event catered to all the different groups here in Ft. Morgan. I am on board, and God provides the team and the resources.
My team and I Just got back from our trip–a week in Ft. Morgan. We saw God act, and open doors and break down barriers. Two young girls decided to accept Jesus and God opened the door for us to share the gospel among the Muslim children. It was pretty awesome.
On day two of our time in Ft. Morgan I decided that we could use a break, so I took my students to Starbucks. We walked in and got in line. And while I was standing there, it hit me. This is the exact location that this whole story started. Almost exactly a year after Charlie and I and 3 others had stood by the Starbucks in the Safeway asking where the refugees were, here we were standing in line after spending the day ministering to those same people.
It was an important moment for me. I saw God’s sovereign hand so clearly. How he had changed my heart from opposed and freaked out to willing. How he had planted the seed so long ago, how he had watered it time and time again, how he had brought Brent, Valery, and Charissa into the mix, and now he had put it on the heart of six students to come and share the gospel. Here it was, just one little piece of his grand design.
I suppose I tell this story to speak into God’s sovereignty, to tell of his ability to use normal people, and to testify to the work that he has done in calling even those who are far from him to himself. His plan is never thwarted, his work is never needless. He is Able!