”The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson
Some people are not only willing to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus, but they’re also willing to walk the extra mile with it. They are the people that inspire me and encourage me to keep on walking on “the road less travelled by”.
I am sure they will also inspire you!
First up is Ryan. Wet met him one weekend on an island in the Gulf of Thailand while visiting South African missionaries. This young Canadian husband and father of three heard God’s voice clearly one night while praying for his family’s finances. God said: “Quit your job, and I will pay your mortgage.” Over a couple of months, God confirmed His Words; and when Ryan asked what It was that he was supposed to do, God said: “Make a film. Go around the world and make a film about real Christianity.”
That is exactly what he did – and the result is a movie that you don’t want to miss!
In the movie, you will get to meet the next two people on my list and hear some of their awesome testimonies.
Cobus and Deirdre could have been my mother and father. They are typical South Africans except for the fact that they chose to move halfway round the world to serve the poor, the lost, and the lonely.
They came to Thailand initially with a vision for the children of Thailand, but God ended up using them in many other ways. They are willing to do whatever it takes to see the Kingdom come, and many of the seeds that they have sown are already bearing fruit….the kind that will make you ‘taste and see that God is good.”
Of course, being able to speak our native Afrikaans language while sipping on a cup of “Rooibos Tea” during our visit with them was an added bonus and great blessing!
We also met Andrea and Kelli on the island. These two Americans in their early twenties are wise beyond their years. They remind me of Mother Theresa (perhaps because they had been in India prior to Thailand) and because they are radiating so much love for other people that it is contagious.
Living on 2 USD a day, they go wherever God sends them, doing volunteer work and helping wherever they can. Their journey has taken them to India, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines (I could have missed one), and at the moment they are on their way to Costa Rica to help out at a baby orphanage.
Talk about being an inspiration.
Then there is Collin; our cell-group leader in Surat Thani. He did not come to Thailand for all the right reasons; but he ended up being used in so many ways by God together with his Chinese wife Amy and their cute son Ethan. They are simply living to make a huge difference in the lives of their co-teachers, the community, and people in the church. I would like to share one of his praise reports that touched me to give you an idea of what’s happening in his ministry.
“All of the new believers have shared one thing in common with their testimony: it was the witness of the selfless love and life of joy that other believers had, that led them to seek after the same. One of the new believers described “light emanating” from the Christian Chinese teachers while they sang a song during the Chinese new year party, and she wanted to have that light in her life. Praise God! Let’s all strive to reflect Christ’s light in our life and never cease to give joy and love to others!”
I’m sure if I could speak Thai better, more of the people on this list would have been Thais, but sometimes deeds truly speak louder than words…. and Pastor Wan doesn’t even need to say a word. He was once a Buddhist Monk and now they call him the “Billy Graham” of Thailand. His testimony is alive in the lives of many Christians and churches he has planted all over Thailand. I will share the full version of his testimony at a later stage – for now he just simply had to be on this list.
I have also met many other women from all over the world – women in their sixties that are still serving the Lord with so much passion that many young people should be ashamed. Many of them came to Thailand more than thirty years ago, married to Buddhist Thai husbands. They faced many trials, tribulations and even persecution; but they persevered in their faith.
Woman like Margaret and Kathy are encouraging me every day with their strong faith and humility. They may not be famous on this earth, but in the Kingdom of God they are already moving mountains. To say “they inspire me”, would be an understatement. I do not “hero” them, for to be exalted and praised is probably the last thing on earth they would desire. Their lives simply point to God, and that makes me love Him more.
And last, but not least I am inspired every day by the humble man of God I am blessed to be on this journey with. It is not about that one time he went on his one knee to ask for my hand in marriage, but going on his knees every day that makes me fall more and more in love with him each day. Leon is not perfect, and neither am I, but our imperfections are covered by grace; and that is the most inspiring gift of all.
I cannot imagine living this (not so) ordinary life, without him.
Who inspired you in 2013?
Let’s see how many people we can add to this list.
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May God use you to inspire others in 2014!!