Without having any idea of what Pastor John was facing in his day ahead, *Marie listened to the Holy Spirit’s nudge to reach out to someone she had very little personal contact with for several years.

She wrote, “Good morning, Pastor John! I pray all is well with you and your family on this new day that the Lord has made! I pray that whatever you may be facing, you try to rejoice and be glad today! Amen! I love you, but God loves you so much more! Be blessed, Pastor. In Jesus’ mighty name.”

What an encouraging message Pastor John received as he and another area Pastor were just beginning an over 100-mile bike ride in The Tide® Race to Share the Gospel Around the World virtual challenge.

Pastor John said, “I received a text from a woman early this morning; this woman attended my previous congregation. She had no idea what I was doing today.”

With the virtual challenge being only 13 miles, one may be curious as to why Pastor John, along with his friend, set out to ride nearly eight times the distance. His fundraising page reads “How can we break the spiritual darkness of the people of Afghanistan? How can we prevent women and men from experiencing eternal separation from God? We must try to bring the light of Jesus Christ. Through this virtual race I ask you to join me in helping the Tide light a candle in the midst of this darkness. I will be riding 100+ mile, which is way beyond anything I have done for a long time. For me riding is a spiritual journey of prayer and Scriptural meditation. As I ride, I expect to be praying for these Pashto children which the Tide is trying to reach through a radio program, but I will also be stopping to pray at some BIC churches along the route. As the ride will stretch me beyond what I have done for years, I ask that you will stretch yourself through prayers and finances for this opportunity to light the darkness for the children of Afghanistan.”

After reaching his initial $1000 goal he added, “I did not know what to set as the goal for the fundraiser. God moved and graciously provided my first goal of $1000. Thus, I have set the goal higher to $2000, for the need to break the darkness for children and families in Afghanistan still exists. Let’s see how God provides. Either way, to God be the glory!”

As Pastor John rode, the encouraging words resonated with him. At lunch time he took a moment to respond, thanking her and letting her know, “I am actually doing a 100-mile bike ride today as a fundraiser.”

To which she responded, “Go, Pastor John! You got this!” (emojis)

Answering back, “I pray so. I haven’t ridden so far for 30 years,” brought about a message of encouragement to which Pastor John said, “That just tickled my soul and blessed and inspired me. I soared emotionally and spiritually. So much so, with the help of a slight tail wind, we cut off 30 minutes of riding on our return trip.”

What were her encouraging words? She wrote, “Pastor John, I believe in you, so let me be your cheerleader for a moment and remind you of something that may help to remove doubt of how 30 years ago has no bearing on the challenge set before you today, Pastor! It is this familiarly used passage of Scripture in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Go, Pastor John! You’ve got this!”

However, this story does not actually begin with the virtual challenge this week. God had already been at work months before. When asked how long it had been since he had been in contact with Marie, he replied, “Actually, that’s a more complicated story. Until my cell phone accidentally called her at the end of this August, I had not heard from her for 7-10 years at least. My phone though decided to dial her. That led to a conversation. Then 3-4 times a week since, she sends a prayer that she gets from some other source. Yesterday, she sent that more personal blessing. I responded.”

How wonderful a reminder that God is at work through the Holy Spirit all around the world; here in America where the virtual challenge is taking place, and benefitting those in Afghanistan who need to hear the message of Hope and Salvation that only comes through Jesus, which will be heard throughout the country. He has a plan and a purpose, and His timing is always perfect!

How about you? What has the Holy Spirit placed on your heart to do today? Imagine if Marie would have waited to message or not messaged at all. She and Pastor John would have both missed out on the blessing they received in that moment where she followed His leading, and the testimony of the event would not exist. Trust His leading today and see how He uses it to bring glory to Himself and encourages others to do the same.

If you are interested in supporting Pastor John’s ride, or giving generally to the Race, you will be a part of reaching our Pashto language listeners in Afghanistan. There is also still time to sign up for the Race and help us reach our 100-participant goal, which we are only 9 away from right now. You can participate by physically completing the 13-mile challenge, or as a Cheerleader who are our Prayer Warriors for the Race and the people in Afghanistan.

*Fictitious name, real story.

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