So the last few weeks have been punctuated by regular phone calls to Moldova, last minute faxes (I'd never even sent a fax before two weeks ago!) and lots of prayer.
UCCF in the North West has had a long-standing commitment to partnering with the IFES movement in Moldova, CSC. As part of this, we raised money for two Moldovan Christian students to come over to be part of the New Word Alive conference. On paper, it sounded easy. In reality, it's been really hard work to try and make this opportunity happen. It feels that at every turn, we have been thwarted.
As I write, the British Embassy are still looking over the paper work over the Moldovans that are due to come over. Their flight is due to leave at 5.30am Moldovan time tomorrow. In some ways it's a miracle that we've got this far. I'm praying like mad that the visas will be granted in the next three hours and this time tomorrow I'll have met the Moldovan brothers at Heathrow.
The last few days have been a strange mixture of emotions. I've been absolutely humbled and forced to rely on God. I've examined my heart. I've argued in prayer. I've told God that (although I could be wrong) I can't possibly see how he gets more glory with these Moldovan lads staying at home. I can't see why God would want these resources of time and sacrificial giving apparently wasted. I've wondered whether God is wanting to change me in this whole process so I'm called to rely more wholeheartedly on him.
Funnily enough (some might say sovereignly!) I've just found myself writing this paragraph as I put together some cell notes for the University of Cumbria CU on 1 Samuel 1-2:
Hannah’s story should not be read as a promise that God will always remove physical problems, or that he will always get rid of barrenness amongst godly women (although it’s true that the passage does underline the power of believing prayer). The main thing that the writer is trying to illustrate is God’s sovereignty over events: Samuel will become a great and much-needed leader in Israel. If Hannah had had a son at an earlier date, she would never have left him at the house of the LORD in Shiloh. Because Samuel did grow up there, God was preparing him for his future life – to be a man of God and prophet, used to the public gaze and ready for leadership of Israel.I guess that, regardless of whether or not the visas come through, God works out all things for the good of those who love him. It's a truth I'm still learning.
UPDATE: The British Embassy has closed for the day. I'm about to see if we can change the dates of the Moldovans' flights. I pray on.