Obedience is better than sacrifice

I (BEN) GREW UP in a Christian home; however, at the age of 15 or 16 I had a really rough patch in life. This rough patch ended when, after finishing High School, I had an encounter with God while lost in a blizzard. The experience changed the course of my life.

Shortly after my encounter with God, Rachel and I began to date. We were married 15 months later at the age of 19. Rachel grew up on the mission field in Mexico where she and her family were involved in church planting. We always believed we would eventually be in full-time ministry, most likely in missions.

Three years after being married, while Rachel was teaching in a local public school and I was ministering to young adults in our church-run coffee shop, God clearly released us to pursue foreign missions. The desire to be involved in missions, which was lying dormant within us, was suddenly awakened by one single call from missionaries serving in Vanuatu.

About a year later we moved our young family away from Utah. We didn’t end up in Vanuatu but in Indonesia. Lydia was just 18 months old when we moved into a single house with about 50 Indonesian children. Noah, our second child, followed a few years later. God’s grace was clearly over our lives. While the adjustments were difficult at times, we were given supernatural strength to deal with each challenge as it came our way. We believe God has not just called us but our children as well. His will for their lives is being fulfilled as we walk in faith as a family. Our children have lived barefoot in the jungle, ridden on roof racks of cars, floated down flooded streets in canoes, prayed for the sick and seen them healed, experienced God’s divine protection, cried with the brokenhearted, learned new languages and cultures, cherished and given thanks for the love from far away family, travelled the world and developed a global perspective, lived with the poor and the rich and learned blessings come with sacrifice. God is more than faithful to our family.

One of the great lessons we continue to experience is that as much as we love our children, God loves them even more. It amazes us how their needs and desires continue to be met. While they may not always be in our timing, God surprisingly blesses our children. From art classes to sports, He cares for them. For example, when we moved to Malaysia after eight years serving in Indonesia, Noah had to switch sports. It was a big deal for Noah to leave behind his daily biking and learn soccer. He didn’t even own a soccer ball so we decided to go shopping to look for one. We went to the shop but they were out of decent balls so we returned home only to find out we had been given a top quality ball from people we didn’t even know. It was a moment of celebration for the four of us, a special reminder to Noah of God’s love for him. God cares about the small details and loves to bless our children.

We have learned obedience is better than sacrifice. Everyone who chooses to follow Jesus must give up something. God is looking to see if we will obey Him even if it costs us. As we’ve followed the call of God, we’ve given up living near family, stable incomes, our friends and church, owning a home, comforts of the American life, etc. Yet the blessings from heaven continue to pour out over our children and us. There is great fulfilment in walking out the calling of God in your life and experiencing His hand in your life every day.

We have a strong passion to see people living in freedom. So many people are walking in darkness and hopelessness and we have the solution. We feel it is a privilege to partner with God in carrying out his redemptive plan for mankind. It is a gift to feel such passion and that is what keeps us on this missionary journey.

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