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Mark & Jill Cable share how they are grateful to go to serve God overseas.
“Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son . . . ” Chorus written by Henry Smith in 1986
So much to be thankful for . . . As we recently were reminded, every day is “Thanksgiving”, especially for us as believers.
We are especially thankful that God gave us the opportunity to go overseas as missionaries. Many people have said to us, “Oh, you gave up so much to be missionaries.” But we came to realize that we never gave up more than God abundantly gave back to us.
Learning to live and work in another culture causes someone to be more dependent on God than ever before. The smallest things that are so easy to manage here in the Untied States can sometimes become major obstacles in another place. As challenging and sometimes frustrating as that was at times, it was also an opportunity to see God at work in new and often miraculous ways. As we look back on our lives in Romania, we can remember so many times when things wouldn’t have worked at all unless God has shown up as only He can.
We saw it from the very beginning when we moved to Romania, flying there for the first time as newbie missionaries with a two-year old. At one point when we were checking our huge mountain of luggage in at the airport, realizing we were way over our limit, we prayed. After some tense moments, which included calling in a supervisor, the agent waved us through -- with no extra charge. God had worked in a God-like way. That was only the beginning. The list could go on and on of ways that God met our needs -- and many times our wants -- as we stepped out in obedience to Him.
As we move into the Christmas season, we remember some very special Christmas seasons overseas. At a time when missionaries often feel the pain of being separated from family, friends and things familiar, God met us in some very poignant ways. Our first Christmas, as we were very much feeling alone as strangers in a strange land, God provided a beautiful snow fall and a few Christmas lights. What for us felt like a bleak, gray, lonely place was transformed into a reminder that Jesus was born into a dark place as the beautiful Light of the world. God hadn’t forgotten us -- any of us.
Another very special Christmas for us was when we joined a group to go Christmas caroling in a small Romania village that had no known believers. It was a very poor place without much hope, really in any sense. It snowed that night, just as it had our first Christmas in Romania. As we trudged through the snow glimmering in the moonlight to carol at different houses, we again saw the Light of Jesus reaching into some very dark places. Singing Christmas carols to these people in Romanian, proclaiming the birth of the newborn King, we again sensed that God had shown up and was reaching out to these very lost people with the good news of salvation. It was cold, it was dark and the village people were in some very desperate situations, some living in almost stable-like conditions. But there we were praising God and proclaiming that Jesus had come to earth for people just like them, just like us. More than once the people we sang for received us with tears in their eyes. Out of their poverty they offered us hot tea and some simple sweet cakes they had made for the holiday. Together we stood shivering in the cold and darkness, far away from the glitter of Christmas celebrations back home. God was allowing us to share the hope of the birth of Jesus -- those who knew the Savior personally with those who desperately needed to know Him. The gospel meeting those who needed to hear. Christmas as it seemed it was meant to be.
So, we are very thankful for God allowing us to personally look into the eyes of people from a different culture, who speak a different language and to see first-hand their deep need to hear the good news of great joy which God intends for all people. We are grateful that God allowed us to be a part of His reaching out into the darkness of the world to share, “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” His message -- Jesus, the hope of us all.
Click here for more information about 2019 Short Term Missions Trips. Applications for overseas trips will be due on December 30.