I’m not sure about your family, but normally before a road trip, we take a moment to pray together and ask the Lord to give us “travel blessings”. As I travel quite frequently, the evening before a trip I normally pray with the kids for us all to have a blessed couple of days while I am away and for the Lord to bring us back together safely. (Normally I also encourage Silas to be the man of the house and to take good care of mommy and sister, and upon my return, he often tells me that everything went just fine while he was the man of the house…….and by the way; “what did you get us?”)
I am sitting in the Helsinki, Finland airport between flights as I write the LIFT update for this week. For three nights and days I was more north than I have ever been, above of the Artic Circle in the Lapland region. My company’s Finnish business partner is starting new sales activity in that area. It was “winter wonderland”, reminding me of Tanya and I living our first ten years of marriage at more than 9000 feet (3000 meters) in a Colorado ski resort area.
Like most things in life, it’s not always the places that make a difference in our travels, but the people we meet along the way. I was definitely blessed this week in crossing paths and being encouraged by a couple other followers of Jesus.
The first divine encounter was with a guy sitting next to me on the flight to Lapland. I know, you’re all thinking of me as being the normal American kinda guy who strikes up a conversation with everyone he sits next to on a plane, but I have to admit, as much as I travel, I don’t speak to those around so often these days. I am usually in the LIFT mode of preparing messages, reading or watching pod casts from other ministries. But this guy was clearly different as it’s not everyday the guy next to me opens up his Bible and starts reading the Lord’s Word. OK, I engaged in a conversation with that guy and found out that is passionate for the Lord. He’s also kind of a “tentmaking” missionary, a British guy about 30 years old, a fireman by profession, and he is passionate to share with the British people the hope of a relationship with Christ, because religion there isn’t working very well. We were both mutually encouraged to hear how the Lord is allowing us both to see people growing in faith around us. By the way, he was accompanied by his wife of 1 ½ days as they were passing up a warm beach for a rustic winter land at a warm and cozy cabin in the woods for their honeymoon!
The second divine encounter was with a young woman I wrote about last year. Her Finnish husband works for my partner company and they are a couple with strong faith celebrating their 1st anniversary in a few weeks. She is originally from Nepal and from a Muslim/Hindu family background who not only left the family to get married and live life with her husband in Finland, she also left the family faith when Jesus answered her prayer to reveal Himself to her. It was touching to hear her story and how she longs to some day share Jesus with her own people. Although her parents haven’t changed their faith at home, they have lovingly accepted her decisions and clearly see the joy in her life, which for her is a major answer to prayer as well!
As we at LIFT share life with one another and it is always encouraging to hear how the Lord is working through His children all across the world as well. I pray the Lord continues my “travel blessings” a few hours longer as I am so excited to see my family and be safe and sound at home soon!
I also look forward to worshiping at our home church this Sunday at LIFT alongside many of you! In His grip and grace,