Sep 8, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
When my son married five years ago, he and his wife felt led to missionary life. After serving at a Houston area university, they believed that God was calling them for something more. Their initial thought was to move to Oregon, which I felt was too far away. But it was just a passing thought – they were headed to a foreign land.
Their visas were easily granted through the International Missions Board (IMB) for a two-year assignment and renewable after that time. So, two years ago, they packed up what they could and gave away or sold the rest and headed to serve in Manchester, England ... taking our first grandchild away for a new adventure across the pond.
They have resided in an area of Manchester called Moss Side, which is full of Kurdish and Somalian refugees. They have been quite successful in their ministry by building community relationships, training leaders and planting house churches in an area where churches no longer exist. Their plan was to come back to the U.S. this fall and return to England a few months later with a new extended visa.
A few months ago, I received an early morning text from my son: “Hey, Mom. I need you to find us a free place to live – or cheap since we are on a missionary budget – in the Katy area. We really do not want to live with anyone with a new baby coming. But we need to be close to family.” My first instinct was to laugh hysterically – seriously? Cheap housing … in Katy? Good luck with that task!
But then my mind went into full blown overdrive. My son reached out to me. For those who know me, I am a doer and a problem solver… and I would make it happen! But how in the world? Where would I even begin? Cheap, much less free? Perhaps an extended stay hotel/apartment where we covered a portion of the cost. My mind was tossing ideas around like crazy!
True confessions: one of my biggest faults is self-reliance. I have always felt quite capable to handle things on my own. Although my research on possible solutions had not even begun, I felt totally overwhelmed with the task at hand. While walking the dog that morning, I seriously prayed that God would guide my efforts to help my son’s young family. At a total loss, I had to completely give this situation to Him to handle.
Later that morning, I was casually sharing my predicament with one of The Fellowship pastors. As I shared, he began smiling and chuckling, which was totally confusing to me. He began with playing 20 questions … Did I know a particular family who attends The Fellowship? Yes, vaguely. Did I know they had been missionaries? Yes. Did I know they were back in Katy? Yes, reminding him that I provided a few items for their homecoming. Did I know they just purchased a home? No, but exciting for them.
I was getting so confused with the interrogation … until he made the next statement: They have a garage apartment. It was at this moment that I began crying – probably ugly crying. The pastor shared that this family felt led to have their garage apartment available for missionaries who came to the Houston area and needed a place to stay.
The next day, the pastor reached out to them and shared the need of my son’s family. They did not hesitate the slightest bit and graciously said … Absolutely!
I am overcome with gratitude to this family for opening their home to my son’s family this fall – and completely amazed at God’s immediate answer to this prayer! It happened when I stepped aside and let Him work.
Our son’s family will arrive in a few days for a four-month stay in the United States. We will get to enjoy the birthdays of their two children and the birth of child number three … as well as the holidays! We are blessed to be able to spend quality time with them ... and blessed to have friends who are committed to serving other Christ followers!
It is amazing what happens when we step out of the way and seriously pray! That allows God to work in our lives and the lives of others!
Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.