God Leads His Dear Children :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

God Leads His Dear Children

Laura Berrey
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Life is a great adventure when you are in the service of the King!

In June of 2001, three weeks after flying home from a year of short-term mission work in South Korea, I married my best friend. Tim had spent the previous two years doing mission work in the Philippines. With a fair amount of certainty that God would turn us around and send us back to one of those two places, we headed up to Wisconsin for what we thought would be a year or two of local church and Bible college ministry.

Our plan: start deputation within a year and be on the mission field within a few years.

God’s plan: something else.

We knew our plan and God’s plan were different when we took stock of our lives a year and a half later and realized that the two hadn't merged. Not only had we not started deputation, but we also weren’t really certain where God would direct us. There was no clear path to follow.

But we knew He was directing us, somehow, into missions. With that certainty in mind, we decided to start praying about a mission trip for the next summer. If we couldn't go to the mission field full-time, we could at least go part-time.

God Answered Prayer

God answered that prayer quickly. Within a month, without knowing of our prayer request, several people independently suggested to us that there was a great need in Cambodia. Among a team of three missionary families, one was coming off the field permanently, another was on a furlough, and the remaining missionary couple was trying to juggle several different ministries. It became clear to us that this was God’s answer to our prayer. So we spent the next summer in a village just outside Phnom Penh, where we helped a church, a small Bible institute, and a weekly international service. While we were there, the Lord clearly communicated to my husband through His Word that He would lead us back to the mission field full-time, but we were to wait on His timing.

After returning to Wisconsin, we began praying about the next summer, and once again the Lord clearly led us to another ministry—this time in South Africa. Again, my husband taught in a Bible college and was the interim pastor at a church just outside of Johannesburg. Although we loved our ministry there and were asked to stay permanently, we knew God had another plan. Still, it felt like our hearts were being ripped in two as we flew back to the States at the end of the summer.

The Phone Call That Changed Everything

Again, we began praying, pleading for the Lord’s leading. This time, within a week or two of our return, we received a phone call from Dr. Mark Batory, Executive Director of GFA, who was in the Philippines for a church missions conference. God had just called a missionary to a new ministry in another southeast Asian country, and there was an urgent need at Bob Jones Memorial Bible College, where my husband had taught for the two years before we were married. Were we willing to consider going to the Philippines to help?

It was as if every desire God had ever put in our hearts clicked instantly into place. Suddenly it was clear what God had been doing over the past three years. Not only had we experienced the privilege of working in a local church ministry, helping to pastor the young married couples of the church and participating in a variety of other ministries, God had also allowed Tim to teach on several mission fields: Ireland, Ukraine, Cambodia, and South Africa. We had learned important lessons about God, about ourselves, and about missions. We had worked with a variety of pastors and missionaries, gleaning an education from each one.

And now God was leading us into His perfect plan.

At least, that’s how many people would see it.

But that isn’t exactly accurate.

It’s not that we were doing something other than His plan until the phone call. Our whole adventure from the very beginning had been His perfect plan. The truth is that this was just a continuation of His perfect plan.

We started part-time deputation in January 2005, and when the college year was over, we moved into full-time deputation for the summer. We arrived in the Philippines in August of 2005.

Looking back, it’s clear that God’s ways were far above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts. Ultimately, we landed on the mission field about the same time we had thought we might. Truly, God leads His dear children along, and every step of the journey is part of His perfect plan.

It's a great adventure!