March 12th was my 29th anniversary in the Christian ministry. It came and went without fanfare, only a realization that time flies, whether you are having fun or not.
It has been an exciting 29 years. I have seen some of everything.
I have been blessed to see scores repent and turn to Jesus in one meeting. I have been blessed to see revival and spiritual awakening in a sleepy community in South Mississippi. Yes, it was such a powerful thing that men and women would break out weeping when they saw me drive up with my chosen evangelist for the week; they would tell us how all day and night God dealt with their hearts and how they had hoped we would come by.
I watched God perform miracles of healing, of answered prayers for rain during a drought, of salvation for the most recalcitrant of men that I had ever seen.
I have been blessed to preach on two sides of the equator. I have enjoyed watching new believers from at least three countries open the word and discover for the first time the wondrous riches of God's word.
I have stood in communities where men and women had never seen a foreigner before (especially one as pale as I am). I have watched them wrestle with the gospel of Jesus Christ, before finally surrendering to him.
I have seen spiritual victory and suffered spiritual defeat. I have been on the proverbial mountaintop and sunk into the lowest valley. I have shouted in joyful glory of the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit; and I have shrieked in painful demonic attack, when it seemed that God had hidden his face.
We have suffered death, robberies, rejection, and who can remember what else? We walked through the wreckage of a downed airliner, searching for the remains of a fellow missionary. We wept with others and laughed with many more.
For most of my 29 years, I have been a voice crying in a desert--quite literally. Most of the places I have lived since 1989 have been cities in a desert in South America. There, God has taught me much. There, God has sustained me and my family.
There we were, as we watched our children grow; there we learned our first grandchild had died. There we learned the simple lesson that Jesus will never leave us ,or fail us, or abandon us.
If I live another 29 years, I hope they are at least as exciting as the last 29 have been.
May God give you as much joy and fruit--and more--as he has given me!