Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unexpected Encouragement

One of Tucker's many faces of joy...

Encouragement comes in unique ways for those in Christ.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a recent Oklahoma State University graduate. He is leaving soon for an 11 month mission experience, called the "World Race." He and his team will cover 11 countries in 11 months. He is with a group of 55, but his family unit of 7 (2 men, and 5 women) will work together on projects throughout their time in Eastern Europe, Central Eastern Africa, South Asia and Central America.

How he came to contact me is a thread weaved by our Savior.

Being a college student, he has stumbled and fallen many times with his peers as they embraced the 'party' lifestyle. He realized he was called out to be separate.

He served as student manager on the OSU basketball team for the last four years. His desire has been to be a coach at the highest level...until recently.

He discovered he was finding his identity in relationships with women. As one of those mock unions recently failed, he found himself knowing he was headed the wrong direction.

He sought the Lord.

He ended up on the website of another universities, campus minister's podcasts. He found a sermon about the 'blessing it was to be single.' He listened intently and felt as if it was specifically geared towards him.

This led him to listen to other messages on the site. One of those messages was by Afshin Ziafat. At the conclusion of his message he spoke of BJ Higgins and his testimony. He encouraged the students to go out and buy "I Would Die for You."

This young man, risking being late for work, promplty did just that.

As he read the pages, the Spirit of the Lord moved in his heart. He felt he needed to contact Deanna and me. He found our contact information in the back of the book, and fired off an email.

I received that email, and our electronic connection began. It culminated in his arrival at my office this morning. We spent the next two or three hours sharing hearts.

He had asked an unusual question, early in our traded email and facebook messages.

He requested our blessing on his wearing a bracelet that carried BJ's name on it, for the duration of the trip. I did not find out until today that he had no idea where he would get such a bracelet. We've never had a request like this before.

Deanna and I quickly consented, but then I remembered a friend from Mooresville, Indiana had made some bracelets back during the time BJ was in the hospital and sold them as a fund raiser.

Each bracelet contained two quotes. One said "go through the mud," and the other, "I will unsheathe my sword." Each bracelet was pink!

We had just one of these left. When this young man asked for permission, the Lord moved my mind to this bracelet.

I had to hunt for it.

I set it aside for this meeting.

As we sat and talked, I found myself wondering how this small encouragement may be received.

At a time I felt was ordained by Him, I began to tell the story of my son as he related to these two quotes, and why he penned them. I explained in context, what they meant. I even told the 'pink shirt stories' to help him understand the color.

His eyes filled with tears as he was given this keepsake. Actually, they did that several times throughout our meeting. So did mine.

There is something about a young man surrendered to the Lord that moves and stirs my heart at a deep level. Perhaps it is because they are rare.

I thought of the few occassions that I've had to have similar conversations. I thought about how the Lord has used the testimonies of those young men. I was deeply encouraged. I thought about two young martyrs that were among this group.

Please join me in praying for Jacob, as he embarks on his Father's journey. Certainly, it will be wrought with hardship, joy, suffering, enthusiasm, danger, and peace. All of it to make His name famous.

He is worth it!

Is it your turn?



At 6:43 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Thanks for the much needed words of wisdom. I can relate to Jacob. I just finished middle school this week and I am not sure if I am prepared for what lays ahead. I'm so glad that he also found encouragement in you as I did so many weeks ago. I will pray for him.

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