We are walking into George Müller territory.
Recently, I heard a Bible teacher (via DVD) lament that his children may miss out on critical lessons on faith, because God had given them so many physical comforts. We pray that our children would also understand living faith in our living God. Unlike George Müller and his orphans, we are not constantly driven to prayer about our next meal. Although we are missionaries, there is food in the cupboard. However, during the course of this past year, we stretched our faith into a different domain of “impossibilities:” the opportunity for our three oldest children to attend Christian camp this summer. For many Christian families we know, camp is a huge financial hurdle. Raising money for camp costs—especially for more than one child—is no light matter. For our family, the “three kids to camp” cost is significantly higher because it also needs to include airplane tickets from Vienna, Austria. The dollar continues to drop to record lows. The cost of tickets seems to be climbing to record highs. From a mere human perspective, it seemed that this opportunity would have to come another year for our children.
I have become burdened about getting the kids to camp as we embark on the new adventure of having budding teenagers. Two of the three have job opportunities in an unsaved environment. Many of their Austrian friends ask for prayer as they face the temptations and struggles of trying to stand for Christ in our worldly society. Despite our Bible teaching on the home-front, I have prayed that the kids would have their spiritual muscles strengthened beyond “Dad and Mom” (who also happen to be their Pastor and his wife). Instead of just limping through the trials of teenager-dom, I yearn for them to radiate the peace and joy of life in Christ. I want them to face authority challenges with Biblical discernment. I pray that they will have sweet friends and role models to inspire them in their walk. When I was a young teenager, I found myself bumped beyond a mundane Christian life through the life-changing decisions that I made at camp. What life-changing impact camp could have on my own kids—if only we could get them there!
In Vienna, as the winter snows melt, people begin discussing their summer plans. We have no plans for exotic travels, but we shared with several folks about our hearts’ desires for the children to visit camp. Recently a friend in the US asked me if it would work out. Although I had no idea how we could manage it, I replied that I was certain that God would make a way—-and I was excited to see how He would work. His provision was exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think!
My dad had been searching for tickets, and beyond the high price, we were also fighting the extra charges for the children to fly alone. He finally called to suggest that we consider some tickets he had found. The cost was about 30% higher than we had ever imagined paying. Of course, dad called because this was a “good deal”—at least better than the going rate. We haltingly told him that he should go ahead with reserving the tickets for the weekend (not yet purchasing them), which allowed us some time to pray and try to figure out a financial plan.
Sunday was planned as a “normal day” with our normal church service in English, followed by the one in German, and then followed by an afternoon youth meeting. We had no idea as we awoke that morning that it would become a miracle Sunday for us.
Between our church services, one of the men quieted the fellowship time in the foyer. He then thanked our family for our love and ministry among them and presented us with a box designated for our children to attend camp. The church folks had given for the cause of our children. Inside the box were random notes, envelopes, and loose money. We felt ourselves so very loved. At home, as we began to count the money, our mouths dropped. Our dear folks had been so generous. Their notes had been so encouraging. We were astounded by the Euro total, and excitedly converted it to US dollars, to compare it to the cost of the tickets. With tears in our eyes, we realized that the love gift—given so privately, and in such a way that no one knew what another had given—covered the entire plane ticket cost within two dollars! We had not shared the cost of our reserved tickets with anyone, but certainly our God knew. He provided in exact proportion to our need.
In the Old Testament, several times the children of Israel were encouraged to “pile up the stones” as a reminder of what God had done. We have often reflected on the “heap of stones” that reminds us how God clearly spared us from the McDonald’s bombing in Budapest in 1998. We’re gathering our stones once again in Vienna. We are reminded that the God of the universe cares about us—just plain old us! It is not purely the ministry of camp that has strengthened the faith of our children’s hearts, but the divine provision of God in what seemed like the impossible dream right here in Vienna.
I have always admired the steady peace that George Müller had—simply waiting and trusting for God to provide for his needs. Müller came simply as a child to His Father and rested in His character to stand by His promises. I must admit that a part of me recoils from this position of complete dependence. I would rather figure out the plan, within my own scope of management, and then ask God to bless it. May we step boldly into George Müller country! May we ever gaze at this “heap of stones” and remember that our God works miracles. Prove Him—that He may open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing!
Written by Sarah Hudson. This article was published in the Summer 2015 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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