Stories of Provision: The Lawn Mower Prayer

People often cite unbelief as a result of a lack of tangible evidence, saying things like, “I’ll believe if ____ happens.”

While this type of thinking is ridiculously arrogant, because how many people would say, “I’ll believe in paying taxes if the prime minister (or president) comes and asks me himself,” we have all thought things like this from time to time. In the pursuit of a calling into tribal missions, I found the Lord faithful to indulge me with a real miracle on multiple occasions. This is one of them.

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It was a Thursday afternoon in the countryside of Grandview, Texas. Lauren and I were employed as substitute teachers at several local school districts and on this particular day there had been no work for either of us. We had been saving as much as we could in the hopes of attending the Missionary Training Center in Durham, Ontario, but with what we were making it seemed like we’d never make it.

We were living with Lauren’s grandfather on his farm, and the “lawn” needed to be mowed. Around 3pm, as I drove the mower back and forth across the lawn, I remembered the storyof a certain Bible school that was in financial need. The president of Dallas Seminary, in a meeting that would decide whether or not the school would continue to stay open or closed due to financial problems, prayed saying, “God, you own the cattle on a thousand hills, could you sell a few and send us the money?” This prayer ended with miraculous results and so I decided that if God could answer his prayer, why not mine? So on the next straight stretch of lawn I bowed my head and copied that prayer.

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When I raised my head there was a truck driving toward me. A man got out and, after inquiring about some cattle equipment that my grandpa was selling, left with the promise to come back with a payment. After returning and paying for the equipment, he asked if I’d help him load it onto his truck. We began chatting and he saw I had a Christian tattoo on my right arm. I explained that Lauren and I were hoping to serve as missionaries overseas, but had to finish our training. He said he thought that was cool and he wanted to help out a bit. He was hoping to start raising some cattle himself and invited us to come meet some friends of his. He handed me 40 dollars for our ministry as he got in his truck to drive away.

We ended up going to his house for dinner, meeting his family, and later met his church. He has become a dear friend and advocate of our ministry and the church he introduced us to has become a wonderful blessing, becoming both prayer and financial partners.

The story could end there and God would be awesome, but it gets even better.

On that same very afternoon, around the time I was praying, our church, FBC Grandview, was having a committee meeting and the topic of missions spending came up. The recommendation came out to put a small portion of their missionary budget towards sending a local family out as missionaries. A friend of mine there pointed out that Lauren and I were waiting to finish our training. So that Sunday Pastor Russell came up to me and asked if we could get together and discuss the possibility of taking us on as missionaries.

When we met with him he asked us how much the training would cost. We put out the figure and were amazed to find out that the church had decided, before they even knew how much we needed, to take us on for that exact amount.

People ask me how I know God exists. What more can I say?

Just some thoughts from a sanctified sinner,
Mark

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Church members praying and sending Pastor Russell and his family off [Photo from Susan Cloud]

This post is written as Lauren and I think of our dear friend, Pastor Russell. Russell is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Grandview and has been a major part of our ministry and spiritual growth. We are so thankful for the role he has played not only on our team, but also in the lives of so many people who have heard him speak and been encouraged by the outpouring of his life. The Lord has lead Russell to move his family to Austin where he will be taking on the role of senior pastor of a church there. We will miss him greatly when we go back to Grandview, but we are excited to see how God will use him in the future!

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