Sometimes I am surprised God answers prayer. I am reminded of the disciples praying when Peter was in prison. (Acts 12) God miraculously released him. When Peter appeared at the prayer meeting, they were amazed. For several months some of my students in my Saturday class have been praying. They were asking God that I would have more opportunity to teach the larger group of men in the ministry they are associated with. I prayed too, but had little hope that it would happen.
My first surprise came when the director invited me to come to teach over 30 men at the ministry location. Because I never thought it would happen, I had not given the details much thoughtful consideration. Now that the invitation existed, I lacked peace about accepting it. I cautiously inched forward, but inwardly I could think of a half dozen reasons why it would not work out well. After a long delay I finally met with the director of the mission to discuss my concerns. During the meeting God's grace prevailed. Every obstacles I considered a “deal breaker” was totally resolved. After the meeting, the invitation stood. Not wanting to be hasty, I asked to have a couple of days to pray about it.
The next surprise was realizing as I prayed that I had been looking for excuses to not accept the invitation. God seemingly had answered my prayer for open doors for ministry and I was looking for a way out . . . at least that is how it seemed. So I accepted the invitation. Last week I held my first class. I taught about the need to have faith in order to please God . . . for almost two hours. I was encouraged to hear some of the men say, “Wow, the time went by so fast.” Please pray with me regarding this ministry; specifically that I would be able to faithfully teach the Word of God without needlessly disrupting the unity of the body. I will try not to be surprised when God answers this prayer; I will just keep reminding myself that what is not possible is man is possible with God.
Our primary ministry continues to be at Canaan Church. We are so thankful for the ministry there and the opportunities that God provides. Recently we held a harvest party outreach focused on the children in the area. Again I was praying, but I really doubted we would have much of a turn out. What a pleasant surprise that God answered prayers. The church was comfortably full and many visitors came. Please pray for effective followup with the new contacts and that God would cause the seeds to grow that were planted that night.
Please also be praying as we have just begun a program specifically equipping individuals in the church to do discipleship in small groups and one on one. For years we have been emphasizing that the purpose of the church is to make disciples and this is an attempt to encourage this in very practical ways. Jeff has also recently started a home Bible study in their neighborhood. Please pray.
We are so thankful that Canaan Church is connected so significantly with extension ministries. Three missionary couples have gone out from the church in recent years and the church continues to be involved in the ministries of those couple. Of course, the coming of the Ketterlings to Longview and starting of Longview Deaf Church this past year has been a significant outreach. Canaan is the backdrop for this ministry and provides many practical functions that frees us the missionaries to do their work. Canaan church allows and encourage both Mary and I (Mary more than Jeff) to devote much time and energy to reaching the deaf with the Gospel. Please continue to pray for this ministry.
Serving the Lord with joy,
Jeff and Mary Mullins