What a gift the Holy Spirit is for followers of Jesus! In my life, I have experienced the Holy Spirit encouraging, teaching, and directing me, but never so much as since we moved to Liberia. Maybe it has something to do with living in an unfamiliar land and navigating a culture that does not come instinctively.
There are so many things I do not understand and frequently find myself unsure of what to do. Because of this, I rely more heavily on the Holy Spirit to direct my steps. In our time in Liberia, I have seen the Holy Spirit guide, provide, encourage, and work in mysterious ways. I am grateful for His ever-present help.
A quiet, internal voice (which we recognize as the Holy Spirit) has guided us in our decision making throughout our time in Liberia. Prayer, listening, and discernment has been critical in determining the Spirit’s voice. As our family investigated places to base our business and mission, the possibilities seemed endless. We walked numerous pieces of property and pursued several of them. Things just either didn’t feel right, or as we tried to go further with them, the process was shut down in some way. When things fell through, we questioned our direction, but kept praying and relying on the Holy Spirit. We trusted Him to guide us.
Finally, we happened upon a piece of property that had everything we were looking for: a sheltered coastline, elevation, and a beautiful beach. It also had some things we hadn’t looked for but are bonuses: a coconut plantation, river access, and a house. Many obstacles popped up as we pursued this piece of property, but each time something removed them and we were able to move forward. Thankfully, we signed a lease agreement the day before we left for our first home assignment.
We have seen the Holy Spirit provide for us in many ways we didn’t anticipate and in some cases didn’t even know we needed. One of the things we desired was to be a part of a team ministering together in Liberia. When we signed on with TMS Global to be cross-cultural witnesses, it looked as if we would be their only family in Liberia. We didn’t even ask God to bring us teammates because that seemed like a closed door to us. The Holy Spirit knows what we need and intercedes for us when we don’t know to do it ourselves. He began to work in the lives and circumstances of two other TMS Global families and, in February 2017, gave us a team to serve with in Liberia. We are grateful for the provision and work of the Spirit to provide for us beyond what we expected.
A powerful way the Holy Spirit has ministered to us is through encouragement. Living in another culture is hard. There are many things to learn and relearn. Discouragement seems to be lurking around every corner. Again, the Holy Spirit knows what we need and has encouraged us in many ways to build our faith and keep us going. Seeing the Spirit prompt people around the world to come alongside us, support us financially, and pray for us helps us to persevere and move forward. When we receive a text, email, or phone call at just the right time, we know God sees us and hears our prayers.
The Spirit has also encouraged us by giving us the vision of seeing faith at work in people who live around us. The forgiveness our security guard offers to people who have harmed him encourages us to be more forgiving. Our pastor friend who trusts God to provide for his family when his church cannot encourages us to trust God for our provision. Examples of faith are around us every day, encouraging us to rely more heavily on God.
Finally, we have witnessed the Holy Spirit at work in mysterious ways in our lives and the lives of those around us. There are times when there is no other explanation but God at work. When we first moved into our community, there was a great deal of conflict among the neighbors. Women were getting into physical fights with each other and loud arguing marked our days. We were new to the community and did not feel it was appropriate to physically step into the disagreements. From our porch, we began to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring peace to our community and their relationships with each other. The change was quick and astonishing. The fistfights ceased and the arguments decreased dramatically. There was no other explanation except the Holy Spirit brought peace to the community.
Living in Liberia is an adventure! I am grateful the Holy Spirit is with us on this journey. Without His help, we wouldn’t be able to do what God has called us to do. Every day we see the truth that in our weakness, He is strong.
Learn more about what world mission looks like through the Wesleyan lens—get the classic work, World Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit (eds Darrell Whiteman & Gerald H. Anderson) with over 30 contributions from missionaries, missiologists, and other scholars with a heart for spreading the gospel across the globe.