From Small Beginnings

I had the privilege last week of speaking to a wonderful group of women who volunteer for the International Bible League, an organization I love to support. I told them my story—how I sat down and started writing my first novel 31 years ago, even though I had no formal training, no clue how to get published, and three small children at home. I wanted my audience to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to trust God when He nudges them to step out in a new direction. He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). I told them my story, but I also shared two other stories with them.

The first is about a Canadian mom named Fern Nichols. In 1984 her two oldest children were starting junior high school and she feared that their faith would be tested as they faced immoral values and peer pressure. She prayed for God to protect her children, and asked Him to send another mom to pray with her. He did! More moms joined them, and the group began meeting regularly to pray for their children and schools. The idea spread all across their province of British Columbia.

The following year, Fern’s family moved to California. Once again she prayed that God would raise up mothers willing to pray for their children. Again, these prayer groups multiplied, spreading around the state and across the nation.

That is how “Moms In Touch” began, now renamed “Moms in Prayer International.” Today, groups of mothers are praying in every state in the USA and in more than 140 countries. My neighbor, Marlae Gritter, joined a small prayer group years ago when her children were school-aged. She never imagined that today she would be the Director of Global Advancement for the international group. Below is a picture of Marlae and me with our new friend Kathrin Larsen from Switzerland. Kathrin also started out as a praying mom, and is now the European Director of the organization.

The second story I told my audience is about a man named William Chapman. In 1936, he became seriously ill and landed in a Chicago hospital. An elder from his church visited and prayed not only for William’s life to be spared, but that he would be led into the service of Christ.

“At the time, it seemed a strange prayer,” Bill said. “Why should God be asked to give me health and strength for this purpose? What could I possibly do for Christ? I came to the conclusion that this was a ridiculous prayer. But as the night wore on toward morning, it became increasingly apparent that my elder’s prayer could not be easily forgotten. That’s when I made my commitment to God. If God would restore my health, I would give all my strength in any avenue of service God would lead.”

William and his wife Betty purchased 1,000 Bibles and went door-to-door in Walkerton, Indiana asking, “Do you have a Bible?” If the home didn’t, they offered one for free if the owners promised to read it. From this simple beginning, William Chapman went on to form the “Bible League International,” the organization I was speaking to. Today, the “Bible League” shares Bibles and Bible study training tools in countries all around the world.

Thirty-one years ago, I laid aside my fears and excuses and started writing. Today I have 24 published books in a dozen different languages. I urged my audience not to ignore God’s little nudges. I invited them to step out in faith and to trust God, and then wait to see the amazing things He is able to do through them. I think William Chapman, Fern Nichols, my neighbor Marlae, and our Swiss friend Kathrin would all agree that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Have you felt God’s gentle nudging in your life lately?

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