When our family chose to go with the IMB as missionaries, we expected to be able to extend our length of service and renew our contract as we desired, within the rule of course. This was the mentality of many in missions and in society as a whole, that for the most part, it seemed to be smooth sailing ahead. However, as we all know, the outlook for many is not as bright... many have lost jobs, homes, and so much more. This lack of confidence and security recently reached our household. The extension of service which once was a given was in jeopardy… after on 20 months on the field our return to the states seemed possible. We believed that we still had work left undone here but because of budget restraints, the IMB was cutting it mission force worldwide. So, armed with the requisite recommendations and the belief that we were suppose to stay here, we requested an extension and prayed. After about a month, the news came that our fifteen-month extension was granted.
This may seem like a good thing, but we considered it a God thing. The IMB will be cutting about 15% of its missionary force in the next twelve months or so. The America Affinity Group (every country south of the continental United States) approved six families in our status a contract extension or renewal. So, to be in this limited group was a God thing. Another God thing was our (actually Mathew’s) lack of true concern when our extension was in limbo. We were less than two months from the end of our contract we when finally received the news of or extension. God has truly worked a miracle in me (Matthew) for in the past I would have been job searching and sending out resumes. I would have been afraid that I could not provide for my family or that I had understood God’s will wrong. However, the truth was that I lacked confidence in the sovereignty of God and His ability to provide. This time I was able to rest in my Lord and Savior… and this for me is a miracle.
So, please rejoice with us as we celebrate the movement of God in the process of an extension and as He has changed us.