In late 2013, AFM President Conrad Vine and International Field Director Marc Coleman visited our project here in Guinea. While they were here, they proposed that my wife and I supervise a young man I will call Aaban who had been recruited to reopen an AFM project in a closed country in North Africa, which I will call Desert Garden. After careful thought and prayers, we put our fears and worries aside, believing that where the Lord leads, He provides. We accepted the call.
Early this year, at the AFM Africa Retreat, we were introduced to Aaban. He is a very intelligent young man, very respectful and God-fearing. He has served as a church elder and ADRA volunteer in Desert Garden. He has a lot of experience working in that country, and he knows the dangers involved.
My first scheduled supervisory visit to Desert Garden was delayed for lack of funds. When God provided the funding, Satan threw up another roadblock. The deadly Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea was escalating, and neighboring countries, including Desert Garden, closed their borders with Guinea. We did the only thing we could do—we fasted and prayed and claimed God’s promises.
Finally in June, a month after our season of prayer and fasting, Desert Garden opened their borders to travelers from Guinea. I quickly purchased a ticket for the next flight, Sunday, June 15.
Planning for a 3:15 p.m. check-in time, I left home that Sunday morning at 10 a.m., estimating I would arrive at the airport between 1 and 2 p.m. Two hours later, I found myself stuck in a traffic jam unlike any I had seen in 15 years of living in Guinea. I knew right away that this was the work of the enemy. All around me, impatient drivers were getting out of their vehicles to yell at each other. People were trading insults and blows, and pedestrians were rushing in to break up the fights.
I took my desperation to God. “Lord, I know You care about the people of Desert Garden. If You want our work there to get underway, please exercise Your mighty power to get me on my flight.” I called my wife, and we prayed together, too.
My plan had been to leave my car at the mission compound and take a taxi to the airport. Now that I was running late, I decided to drive straight to the airport and call a pastor friend to take my car back to the mission. I called him, and he said he would find me on foot in the traffic jam. By this time, it was 4 p.m., nearly an hour after check-in time.
Then I began to smell something burning, and smoke curled up from under my car. I opened the hood and found that the clutch had overheated. I was just closing the hood when my pastor friend arrived. I had given up hope of getting to the airport and had decided just to try to make it to the mission compound. My friend and I prayed together, and He encouraged me to continue to the airport and see what the Lord would do. It was now 5 p.m., the scheduled departure time for my flight.
At last, we drove up to the airport. Since encountering the traffic jam, it had taken me five hours to travel the last 15 miles. I dashed out of the car, found the nearest airport security officer and asked him about my flight. “We don’t know what’s happening,” he said. “For some reason, that flight hasn’t come in yet. They have never been this late before.” Running back to the car where my friend was waiting, I began hugging him and praising God. My friend was baffled until I finally told him, “God delayed my plane so I could complete this trip!” We prayed together, thanking God and again committing the rest of the trip to His care. I began to sing a chorus we like to sing in church: “God has done it again.” I sang all the way to the check-in desk. I gave my passport and ticket to the two men behind the counter, and they looked at me as if I was from another planet. “You are a very lucky man,” they said. “We were just about to pack everything up, and here you are.”
“Luck has nothing to do with this, my brothers,” I replied with a grin. “You see, I am on His mission. He has proven to me that all power has been given to Him to do anything He wants to save souls.”
“Who?” they asked.
“Jesus!” I replied, giving them a broader smile. “You may not understand, but it’s true!”
A few minutes later, I sat in the departure hall and reflected on my life history up to that day. I thanked God for saving my life and for allowing me to work with Him, to the point that He delayed a plane just so I could do His will, fulfilling His promise, “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”
My miracle plane landed in Desert Garden at 9 p.m. Aaban and another Adventist man were waiting for me. As we drove through the city, I could see clear evidence of the enemy’s grip on this nation.
The next day, I asked Aaban to let me spend a quiet time with Jesus. On the second day, we planned out the rest of my two-week visit. We set aside three days for orientation and basic evangelistic training, and another three days of prayer and fasting. The rest of the time we spent visiting members, interests and other key people.
As we met people and heard their stories, my eyes were opened to the good work done by the previous AFM missionary, Sister Manou Young. Working hard to expand her network and deepen her friendships, she courageously and patiently laid a very good foundation for future work. I am optimistic that, with God’s power, Aaban can build upon this foundation.
We need more partners to work in Desert Garden. Is God calling you?
AFM currently has an open mission call to Desert Garden. Call 800-937-4236 or email email@example.com.