The moment had arrived to move to a new district that we didn’t know much about. It was our first experience in managing a district. When my husband learned about the change, he began making appropriate plans on how to run the district. The impetus of my young pastor-husband, the excitement of this responsibility, and the idea that now he could be the administrator of a district caused him to think and plan the work with a lot of expectations.
We had been in the district only a short time when we heard that some members of one of the churches were analyzing the new pastor and thinking of ways to perfect him. My husband heard of their comments and criticism and suffered in silence.
The criticism reached him through church members who respected him. Little by little, his personality was affected. He had been known for his happiness and jovial spirit, especially with the young people. Over time he became pensive and less jovial to the point that his work colleagues asked him what was happening. I encouraged him and prayed for him. Many times he bared his soul to the Lord and prayed and cried in silence. He pleaded for the Lord to transform his personality. He prayed for his defects to be taken away. We suffered in silence; only the Lord knew our condition.
I especially remember one Sunday in those days of silent suffering that touched my husband’s soul. It was about five in the evening, and he wanted to go walking in the city where we lived. We had walked for about one hour when we passed a little street filled with cars. This seemed very strange. As we got closer, we saw that the cars were parked in front of a little Catholic church. My husband was so overcome with loneliness that he asked me if we could go in where there were people. We went in and sat down to hear the priest. The service was just ending, and the priest invited everyone to greet each other. It was a curious moment. We needed to be accepted, and though these people had never seen us before they greeted us and smiled. We returned their greetings and smiles. This was what we were looking for—brotherhood, companionship, acceptance. It was an unforgettable afternoon! And as strange as it may seem, it comforted us.
Now we work in a new district where God has control of our lives. He is allowing us to enjoy a new experience totally different from the one at the other place. My husband has recuperated, although the footprints of his past experience can still be seen. He realizes that if God had not permitted him to go through that experience, he wouldn’t have been able to learn so many things needed for his pastoral ministry. God polished and prepared us in many ways to do even better in what He has entrusted to us to do.
Each time I remember this experience, I thank God. I remember the words spoken to Joshua: “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9, KJV). And He was with us, even in the loneliness we suffered as missionaries.
Through our many experiences, we learn and grow and look forward to the blessings God has reserved for us in His providence.