My wife often jokes with me that I have the spiritual gift of networking (which is often followed by her telling me I also have spiritual gift of hanging-out). And while there isn't necessarily anything spiritual about networking, God definitely uses connecting with others as a way to do ministry. Over the past couple years as we've set out to try something new and use coffee as a way to sustainably reach villagers, there have been countless connections with people that have made it possible. Literally, I tried to count up the connections last night, many of which came completely out of the blue, and lost track somewhere around 83. From knowledgeable and passionate guys on our board, to coffee roasters, to missionaries, to pastors and church leaders. . . And when we had to make a move to a new country a few months ago, I wasn't sure if it would work because we had so many unique connections in the place where we were. After we made the move, God has once again reminded me that He is in control of this by setting up more relationships in this new country. I saw an example of this just a couple weeks ago:
A missionary in the country that we're now in is currently in my hometown on stateside. He is a friend of a friend (a friend of several friends actually) that has gotten mixed up with us. We go out every few weeks for lunch or coffee and talk about ways that we might be able to work together when he gets back overseas and how we can minister to the people there in better ways. And even though the country that he serves in is small, they have a fairly large population in my neighborhood with several restaurants. The past couple times we've gone out, we pick one of these restaurants for lunch. About a week ago we went to a new place, and because my friend speaks the language, we quickly met all the waitresses and the owner. As we were talking to the owner, she tells me that she is from the town that Luv-Luv is currently living in, and she has some things she would love for me to get to her parents who live there. We talk for a while and eventually ask her about her faith, and she lights up and tells us that she is a Christian. She then begins to ask us if we can take a Bible to her parents, because she has shared with them over the phone and they are new believers, but they don't have a full Bible to read. I told her that my friends who live there would love to take them one, and she gives me their address in a village outside of the town. As it turns out, the missionary who helps Luv-Luv has been wanting to start ministry in this village.
Half a world away, in a town with a population of about 80,000 and a Christian population of less than 2%, and their daughter owns a business about a mile from my house and needs someone to give them a Bible and share the Gospel. What are the odds? The only explanation I have is that God connects people together.