Editor’s Note: In May, FBM President Stephen Simpson led a mission trip to Mexico that included his wife and children. This devotional is written by Abi, Stephen’s 14-year-old daughter. In it, she shares one lesson she learned on the trip.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It is comforting to remember that God has a perfect plan for each one of us. He provides for us – in His own perfect timing. This is a lesson that we all know and agree with, however when bad things happen, it is sometimes hard to see it.
The first example that comes to mind when I think of this lesson, is Covid 19. Covid has really messed up a lot of things. The mission trip I went on was actually scheduled for last summer. But it had to be rescheduled because of Covid. When planning for this trip started again, there were several people who wanted to come. Sadly, some of them had to cancel because of different complications. Some of those complications were a result of Covid. Seven of us were still able to travel to Mexico to minister to the missionaries there. Because of Covid, all seven of us had to be tested for Covid, TWICE. We were tested in the US before leaving and again in Mexico before coming home. While the tests were not comfortable, I am thankful that negative COVID tests were a part of God’s perfect plan.
A second example of God’s perfect plan was His timing in allowing us to encourage a missionary family. Paul and Eunice Unruh, FBM missionaries in Mexico, have a daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren that have lived with them in Mexico for several years. These grandchildren and their mother were preparing to move to Oklahoma. I think they only had a few more weeks left in Mexico. It was the perfect timing for us to be there when we were. We were able to spend time playing with these kids and encouraging them. They had a bucket list of things they wanted to do before leaving Mexico and we were able to participate in some of those things with them. One of the activities on that list was going to a zoo and some members of our team were able to enjoy this memory with them and had a great time doing so.
Finally, God has a plan even when things seem chaotic. My family and I had a LOT of drama with our passports. My three siblings were going on this trip with me and so we all sent in our passport applications at the end of March. About a month later, we received THREE passports in the mail. In case you’re counting, THREE passports is not enough for FOUR siblings. My passport was the one missing! On the same day, my dad received an email informing us that my passport picture had been rejected. We rushed to get a new passport photo and send it off to the Passport Agency. We also included a letter begging them to rush my passport!! But, we were not very optimistic. It had taken a month for my sibling’s passports to come. How could they get mine done in a week? We spent many sleepless nights trying to decide what to do. Does the rest of my family go, and I stay here? So many questions came to mind but we didn’t know the answer to them yet. The only thing we knew definitively was that we needed to pray. So, we did – as did our church family. On May 5, only three days before the trip, my passport arrived.
This is a perfect example of God’s provision. We did not understand why this was happening. But God, all in His own perfect timing, provided exactly what we needed. Throughout this whole trip, and even throughout this past year, there have been many times that God’s timing has been frustrating and has seemed to be off our schedule. But, in reality, we were off God’s schedule. He provides exactly what we need all according to His perfect plan. We just need to do what He says and trust that He will provide for us.