Last year, I stood on the largest ship I had ever been on. It was a giant metal behemoth, rising up out of the water with the height of a three-story building. The “Pacific Hope,” a YWAM ship, brings medical and disaster relief to ports around the world. It is 180 feet long (half the length of a football field), and weighs 480 tons: the equivalent of piling 70 adult male elephants on a scale and weighing them at the same time. How does something so massive, made out of metal, actually float?!
More impressive than the outside, is the inside. Especially a room few visitors get to see: the engine room. This is a large room at the lowest part of the ship, full of massive pieces of steel machinery, cogs and valves, pistons and pumps.
It is this room that carries the ship to safe harbor.
This week, as my family is traveling the U.S. visiting our friends and supporters, I feel that I am getting a glimpse of the engine room of our mission. Today, I sat with three women who meet weekly to study the Bible and pray together in Joplin, Missouri. As I shared with them the testimonies of our past year in Mexico, I saw these women smile as they began to hear how God had used their prayers on our behalf.
Every story of breakthrough, transformed life, or victory that took place last year had its beginnings in the “engine room” of prayer.
After I had shared several inspiring testimonies from the past year, these three women took my hands and prayed with me. They prayed over my family, our YWAM base, and everything that God is using us to do in Mexico. I listened as one of our dear supporters, Patty, prayed. When she began to pray for our family, she listed off my children’s names as effortlessly as I do at home when I am calling them to dinner. That’s when I had a blinding realization: she speaks their names daily, as often as I do! These prayer warriors who have committed to pray for us really DO pray faithfully and regularly for us. They say our names throughout the day, each and every day.
This entire first year as we have moved to Mexico and started a brand-new mission work in San Juan del Rio, I have been so aware of one constant: The FAVOR of God. It meets us everywhere we go! At exactly the right time, the apartment that we need will open up; we find a mechanic to work on our vehicle who does a repair that would have cost thousands of dollars in the U.S., and this Mexican, (who could see a “white person” as an opportunity to make extra money), does the repair without charging for his labor; we end up “accidentally” meeting the director of the government office, who makes phone calls on our behalf and cuts out hours of extra paper-work and hassle by personally seeing to our situation. Time and time again, this supernatural favor has met us, has overtaken us, has overwhelmed us! This is no accidental happening, no circumstance of chance. This God we serve is real, and He meets us EVERY DAY as we walk committed to obedience.
Today, I realized this favor we walk in isn’t JUST because God is good. Which HE IS!
But, this beautiful ship we are sailing is powered by a secret room: the engine room. The place where prayers are made and HEARD by Our Heavenly Father!
This engine room is staffed by people the world over, people who forget about themselves and intercede on our behalf.
This group of people is as diverse as it is committed: A woman on her knees at home, the carpet worn by her frequent visits; A young person, praying as he sees our photo on Instagram; church congregations, who join hands and lift us up, their hearts drawn by the Father’s heart for Mexico; Worship leaders, who sing over us as they pray; My mother-in-law, who refuses to take “no” for an answer, especially in prayer; People from other countries, who have never been to Mexico, but know that there are others out there who need Jesus; Widows who miss their husbands but pray for us, even as they walk through grief; Busy moms with homeschooling children bow their heads with their children in their “school-rooms” to remember us in prayer; Businessmen, pastors, lawyers, teachers, doctors, nurses, siblings, parents, grandmothers, children: this group of people who staff the engine room of prayer for us are many and varied.
In an age where it can be so easy to get caught up in our own accomplishments, successes, hobbies, pastimes, comforts and joys, there are people who turn their backs on the moment and pray into eternity.
Who does that anymore???
If you are reading this, chances are, you have prayed for us at least once. You are a piece of this incredible operation that God has created. Yes, we are pushing into new waters. Each day, we feel new breezes and witness new things. But, we would be crippled if it weren’t for you. The people who toil faithfully in the deep, hidden places on this mission ship are vital to us. Those who put in the time, in the dark, never to see what we get to see, but committed to the journey nonetheless.
You are part of that group. Never believe that what you do is insignificant. Your prayers keep us alive, they keep us moving, they keep us focused. Your prayers make miracles happen every single day.
Did you know that in the last year since we moved to Mexico, our children have not been sick? We haven’t had to take them to the doctor for a stomach illness, cold, infection, broken bone, ANYTHING. We have five kids! And they are living under the protection and covering of an engine room of prayers.
So, I’d like to dedicate this blog to you. The hidden ones in the engine room of this ship. Prayer warriors. Mothers and fathers for the next generation. You are not satisfied with the comfort and ease of everyday life. You are always looking for more. And you bring us along with you.
How can I thank you? You know my children’s names as well as your own….
I am humbled.
I am grateful.
My heart overflows.
As we share our stories and then part with hugs, I keep hearing this promise:
“I will be praying for you.”
And now I believe it. It’s just not a nice thing to say that you forget as soon as we leave.
When we return to Mexico and begin our second year pioneering our mission, I will think of you and remember:
We are not alone.