God Story
A glimpse of glory at the dentist’s office

Christar worker Robert* shares how he discovered that God had been working through him and his wife, decades after they left South Asia.

When my wife, Cate, and I looked back on our 13 years in South Asia, we didn’t think we’d made any difference at all. We had no idea how our God had used Cate in a little town in a little church in the life of a little girl in such a big way.

If you could travel with me back in time to 1967, you would see us serving in a Muslim community in South Asia. I was pastoring a small church, and Cate taught Sunday school and worked with children. With three children of our own, home responsibilities and some health difficulties, language learning was a challenge for Cate. Though she wasn’t fluent in the local language, she loved to teach the boys and girls at our church each week. They didn’t respond as she had hoped, and she doubted that she was having any impact on their lives. But she kept teaching.

 

Little progress visible

As I pastored, a few people came to faith. But we didn’t see much fruit, and we both felt discouraged. Many of those who attended were Christian in name, but they couldn’t seem to grasp the need to be born again: They believed they were “born Christians.” We tried to help the church become self-sustaining and encouraged members to faithfully give from their income.  We also worked to develop leaders within the church. But we didn’t see much progress in any of these areas.

After about three years, the director of a Bible school in another city asked me to serve there for a year while he was away. We felt God was leading us to move on to ministry there, and I began teaching.

At the Bible school, I taught Ephesians and the Old Testament, as well as served as interim director. We sent two graduates at different times to pastor the church we had left in our previous community, but it still didn’t grow. Eventually, we lost touch with its members and ministries.

Returning to the US

When Cate became ill, we returned to the U.S., where she passed away from cancer in 1980. I hadn’t thought much about our ministry in that church so long ago—not until my daughter Jennifer shared what happened at the dentist’s office.

Jennifer, a dental hygienist, had just gotten a new job. One of her patients on her first day was a South Asian Christian named Esther. As they were chatting, Jennifer mentioned that her parents had served in the country where this woman had grown up, and they soon discovered that Jennifer had lived in Esther’s hometown.

 

Once-in-a-lifetime possibility

But that wasn’t all. Then, Esther shared, “My mother, Mary, received Christ as her Savior when she was 8 years old through the ministry of a Mrs. Barrows.”

Jennifer exclaimed, “Mrs. Barrows was my mother!”

Esther went on to explain that she and her husband are now missionaries back in her home country. They were in the U.S. at the time to visit the American churches that provided their financial support, which enabled them to serve full time back in their homeland. She had travelled some distance to come to this dentist because he was from one of the churches that supported them. It was a once-in-a-lifetime possibility for Jennifer to “happen to meet” Esther!

Learning of the fruit!

Jennifer gave my wife, Joyce, and me Esther’s phone number and we called her. I learned that her mother, Mary, was the third child of one of the couples in that small church where we served.

Mary grew up and married one of the Bible school graduates we had sent to serve in the church where we had once ministered. They began a very fruitful ministry among an unreached people group and continued serving in it together until Mary’s husband went home to be with the Lord. Esther and her husband felt called to continue her parents’ work, which is what they are doing today.

 

God continues His work

I feel astonished and privileged to know that though we couldn’t see it, God was at work when we were there. He kept working after we left. And He continues His work in the lives of hundreds of Hindus and Muslims two generations later!

May we be faithful and trust God is at work, whether we see it or not.

Source: Christar

 

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