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By Drew Brown 

When Javier stopped by to deliver the shelves he made, I thought it would be a simple transaction – 5-15 minutes tops. God had other plans for our afternoon and evening. After he brought in the two bookshelves, I settled the bill. Michele saw that his wife was traveling with him, so we offered them coffee.

We discovered they lived on the Caribbean side of the country. “You drove 5 hours just to deliver this one job?” I asked, curious what would motivate someone to accept the work, given the distance.

“Yes. I am actually a pastor, but I make wood furniture as my main source of income. I have connections in this area because I used to attend classes at ESEPA,” Javier said.

ESEPA is where I work, educating pastors and other Christian leaders. Coffee then turned into a snack, which turned into dinner and more coffee.

And there was silence. The tears came from both of them.

“Our church constructed a building and was doing very well. Then, we found out that the ownership of the land the church was on was not properly transferred. The landowner claimed it and had the documentation to prove it, so we were forced to give it all up. With heavy hearts, we are starting the church again in our home, but it hasn’t been easy.”

More stories followed from Javier and his wife of loneliness, challenging church relationships, and thoughts of giving up. Michele and I listened for several hours, and we offered some comfort and prayer. “We spent a year building our house in Mozambique, developing relationships with the community, and seeing the gospel grow, but we had to leave because of a medical situation.”

We continued to share the loss, heartbreak, and difficulty of starting over in a new country with a new language and entirely new people. I started to see the tears dissipate, and their eyes widened in hope as we connected with Javier and his wife. We continued to take turns sharing both the heartache and isolation of ministry and took comfort in each other.

The following day, I received a message from Javier: “I wanted to thank you for receiving me in your home. It was a great blessing, and I sincerely unburdened a little bit of the suffering that was in my heart…..My wife was very happy to share with your wife; she felt good, something that she had not felt for a long time because of the hard trials of the ministry… she was not talking to anyone about this…it was a surprise for both of us.

Michele and I thanked the Lord that He was using our suffering to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). God does not waste our pain!

Discussion Questions:

On your social media, share the link to this blog with an answer to one of the questions. Or you can leave a comment here. 

  • Write a response to how this blog post resonated with you.
  • How has your suffering helped someone else in your community?
  • How did God use your suffering for His purposes?
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