Remarkable Changes

My husband, Jonathan, has never had a desire to leave the country. In the past we have talked about going on vacations to Mexico, or the Bahamas, and his stipulation was that we go only if it were on a cruise where we could set up camp on an American boat-HAHA!  A few days after my 3rd short-term missions trip trip to Peru ministering to abandoned boys, God did something remarkable in my dear husband. He said to me, “Let’s visit Peru together. I know that God ultimately wants me in full-time Christian ministry, maybe this is the time and place.”  …insert complete shock from the wife (me)

At the time we knew only one thing, visit Peru and see where God leads. Our week in Peru was spent with dear missionary friends. They showed us the city, the poverty, the needs. Jonathan surprised me with his flexibility, doing things in a different country that I knew he was uncomfortable doing. Do you know what it’s like for a 6’4″ guy to take public transportation in a city of 10 million people? After our short time in Peru, we knew we were suppose to continue walking towards Peru, as long as God continued to open the doors.

We sought out United World Mission through the recommendation of current missionaries in Peru. We were accepted as missionaries with UWM (another open door) and entered Entry Point orientation with UWM excited, yet nervous about what/ who was awaiting us in Charlotte, NC. God spoke to us so clearly that week. Such kind, caring and authentic people who wanted to see us thrive as missionaries. When we left North Carolina to drive back home, we were confident that we chose the exact agency that God had planned for us.

So what was the next step for the Vining’s…support raising. What a scary thought. While at the Entry Point, we learned what our budget will be in Peru and the amount we need to sustain our family to be long-term missionaries. In my sinful nature, the first thing that came to my mind was doubt. How can we ask for our salary from other people? UGH…why did that have to be my first thought?! While going for a run one day, sweating to death, an incredible peace filled me. God spoke to me so clearly saying, “don’t be afraid, I am with your family and I will provide every cent you need to serve ME in Peru.” So I ran home and told Jonathan of my encounter with God. While I am crying telling Jonathan how God so graciously met me in my fear, Lance (our 6 year old) says something so incredible. He says, “mom, Jesus was talking to you and making you feel. Jesus is always good.”

Support raising…no one can ever fully prepare one for the journey that is support raising. Rejection, yet confirmation. Rejoicing, yet grief. Psalms 52:7, “I cry out to God most high, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.” Months of prayer, meetings, perseverance and God’s hand as we raised support. The journey was not easy, but necessary for us to completely rely on His timing and purpose for our lives as missionaries. We would pray with our 6 and 4 year old often. “God please guide our steps, please provide people to surround us and support us, please be with the abandoned children and the lost in Peru.” Our son comes up to us one day during support raising, “mom and dad, I want to help the abandoned boys in Peru, I want to have Jesus live inside of me”. God continuing to move in ALL of us as we sought His will for our lives.

Now we are in Costa Rica learning Spanish. We are months away from arriving in the country that God has called our family. We are overwhelmed at all of the support we have received from a vast number of people. Mainly, it is humbling that God would choose us, such incredibly imperfect people, to do something so incredible.

David Wikerson says, “If you are a Christian, you are in a fierce war. In fact, you’re in a death battle for your faith. Satan is determined to shipwreck and destroy the faith of all of God’s elect. And the stronger your faith, the greater his attack will be. Unshakable faith in the Lord causes hell to rage. Nothing poses a greater threat to Satan’s kingdom than a Christian who is unmovable.”

It’s crazy to thing that the devil is afraid of people like us. At moments I feel incredibly weak, then I think of how far God has brought us and how He continues to walk alongside of us as we seek Him first. To God be ALL the Glory.

By: Amanda Vining, Serving in Peru