God works in mysterious ways

Last year, I was discouraged.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as 2020 would be one of the strangest and most frustrating years most of us have experienced. Our entire way of life was altered from the ground up. Friends and family suffered. Friends and family died. I myself got the virus and it was an exhausting experience. It was the sickest I’ve ever been.

My work in the ministry was greatly affected. I had to cancel many flights for speaking engagements and conferences. My calendar was in total disarray. In one instance, I was supposed to speak at Sandy Creek Bible Camp in Texas, and almost exactly a week before I got a call from leadership at the camp that many of the staff have Covid and the entire camp was canceled. I was extremely discouraged, as I had recently had another speaking opportunity canceled.

I remember asking God “what am I supposed to do?” It didn’t make sense — I wanted to serve, but every opportunity I had that year was being taken away from me. I was totally discouraged and began feeling sorry for myself. Soon after, one of the leaders from the camp called and asked if I was willing to record five sermons for a virtual camp. I remember thinking why on earth would children and teenagers want to do an online camp?

I reluctantly said yes, and at the time, I felt my hesitance was justified. The recording was a disaster. It was extremely tedious and lasted hours. By the time it was over, I felt it was a waste of time. Then I grew more frustrated because I felt they let me do this because they felt sorry for me since my speaking engagement at the camp was canceled. 

Fast forward to August 2021, and I’m about to board a plane to Rio Blanco, Mexico, with 12 brothers and sisters in Christ. After months of preparations, prayers, and planning, I felt the team was finally ready to serve and preach the gospel on the mission trip. Every member of the team had to present the gospel at least four times a day, and they practiced and prepared. They knew the conditions would be rough — many times the only bathroom available would be a hole in the ground with some boards nailed together to form a privacy barrier. Sometimes it would be cold and wet. Sometimes the food would be weird. 

I sat next to a mom and her daughter on the plane. They were going back home after visiting her sisters in Michigan. It dawned on me that this was a 4-hour trip and maybe the Lord will open the door to share the gospel. I hoped she’d see my notes and bring the conversation up naturally, but she didn’t. Soon it became evident that I needed to pray for God to open the door, so I broke the ice by saying that her daughter reminded me of my granddaughter. I showed her a picture, and this opened the door for the gospel. I told her we were on our way to Mexico with nurses and others who love the Mexican people and want to serve them and give them hope. Then I found a tract and gave it to her to read, after reading it I asked if she understood the plan of salvation. We talked for about 1 hour. I pray that one day she would trust Christ as Savior. 

The next day we began to share Christ in many Mexican villages. One man in particular (Luke) shared many times and I had the honor of translating the gospel into Spanish for him. This is where the story takes a twist. After we returned from our mission trip, the next Friday morning he, “Luke,” realized that after hearing the gospel preached all week (and he himself presenting the gospel) that he wasn’t born again. There was no fruit in his life, he never really had a change of heart.  So, he bowed his head and trusted Christ as his Savior from sin. God really works in mysterious ways. 

About a month after I recorded those virtual sermons for Sandy Creek Bible Camp, I got a letter in the mail from a little girl saying that she trusted Christ as her Savior after hearing one of the messages. I later learned that another young lady also trusted Christ from that virtual camp. I never thought the virtual message would accomplish anything, but God truly does work in mysterious ways. 

Because of Jesus,

Ray Gonzalez

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