The Unseen Hand of God (or Partnering with the Divine)

What I love about being on mission with God is that the Spirit is always working, continually drawing, incessantly arranging, in an often behind-the-scenes manner. This activity often results in serendipities and small-world encounters which point to very intelligent designing on the part of the Trinity.

Such was my realization when meeting this week with one of the five young men with whom I have the privilege of mentoring this academic year. Quentin, a new friend of mine, was explaining how he made the acquaintance of another Belgian student, David, whom I have yet to meet personally, but whom I directed to the Students for Christ group in Brussels (led by some of our SFC colleagues) while I was still in the USA over a year ago.

During a state-wide ministers meeting in Louisiana, a missions leader from one of our supporting churches asked if we were the missionaries to Belgium working with students. I replied affirmatively and she then recounted the story of David: his arrival in Louisiana for a year’s exchange program with an international organization, his placement in a Christian home, his church attendance with his host family and his personal experience with Jesus resulting in his baptism before returning to Brussels where he subsequently connected with the SFC group.

David and Quentin, both Belgians and both former exchange students within the same international entity, found themselves in contact with each other upon their return to Europe. Through a joint meeting of their organization and an online chat, they each discovered that they had experienced God encounters while abroad, they were both back in Belgium now and both attending SFC groups, albeit in different cities. As I listened to the way these connections had come to pass, I marveled at the sovereign hand of God using Christians in Louisiana (where David was for his exchange year) and in Australia (where Quentin was placed) and in Belgium (where we live and have helped create a network of ministry to university students) for the grand design of each one embarking on a Spirit-led life of faith!

But there’s more…another very encouraging, God-directed connection occurred two years ago when we ordered something from an online Christian ministry based in the USA. The person receiving the order saw that our physical address was in Belgium and asked if we ministered there. When I confirmed, he mentioned that members of his family, a young couple, were also ministering in Belgium (the husband’s home country) and proceeded to give me the online presence of Guillaume and Abi Hoc.

Believing that God often has plans that tend to surpass our meager human orchestrations, I wrote to colleagues of mine in Brussels who were reaching out to students. They in turn contacted the Hocs and a collaboration was born which resulted in the replanting of an SFC group at the university in Namur, a city we had been targeting for many years.

To our continued amazement of God connections, Quentin, one of the guys that I have the honor of mentoring this season (mentioned above), joined that SFC group in Namur. He has participated in the annual Students for Christ-Europe training conference and is becoming a student leader in his own right. Meanwhile, we have had the great pleasure of finally meeting and beginning to foster deeper relationship with Guillaume and Abi, who lead that group in Namur, Belgium.

Indeed, the fruit of long-term presence here in Europe is being borne out as the sphere of influence broadens and deepens. To God be the glory!

Quentin praying for the nations during SFC's training conference
Quentin praying for the nations during SFC’s training conference

In other news, Blair’s recent trip to Malm√∂, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark was very profitable in the sense that we were able to solidify collaboration in student ministry with two international churches and their pastors. SFC-Europe’s Bridge Initiative moves much closer to becoming a reality as the teams are planning for November 2015 and January 2016 arrivals in these two great cities.

Students gather for a city-wide, semester welcome event in Copenhagen
Students gather for a city-wide, semester welcome event in Copenhagen
Copenhagen's bicycles are as ubiquitous as motorized vehicles.
Copenhagen’s bicycles are as ubiquitous as motorized vehicles.

Finally, we offer an immense and deeply felt “THANK YOU” for your partnership with the Divine through our own lives and pray you are also observing the hand of God moving in your midst as you serve Him faithfully!

from our table to yours...bon appetit!
from our table to yours…bon appetit!