I look at my calendar and roll my eyes. I have written and scratched through my friend’s name all over August and September. The first week, I met with her at a café, and she said she agreed to do a Bible study with me. I ecstatically wrote her name for the next Wednesday, only to have her cancel because she forgot it was a holiday.
“What holiday?” I asked. The day Mary rose into heaven, of course. Silly me. How could I forget and schedule a Bible study on the day that commemorates something that never happened?
We rescheduled for the next Wednesday. My husband and I arranged our day so he could watch our daughter during the Bible study. Then came the text message: she had to stay late at work. Could we try the next Wednesday?
Yes—but that day there was another conflict with her work. Could we meet the very next night? There would be no conflict that night.
Sure. My husband and I rearranged our schedules again. That afternoon I got another text message. She had surprise guests for dinner. How about the next day? She would be there FOR SURE!!!!!
OK. That day, I got an e-mail. Something came up. Not sure what. She would call me the next day.
No call. No Bible study. We had tried five times. Was I doing something wrong? Should I keep trying? I knew the culture here tends to say yes and then cancel at the last minute, but I felt like I was banging my head against a wall.
I called her again. We scheduled for the next Wednesday…which she canceled…and Thursday…which she canceled…and Friday….
It was Friday afternoon. She had not canceled. Was my phone not working? I checked my e-mail again. Had she forgotten to cancel? Or did I dare hope?
I drove to her house and rang her doorbell. When she came to the door, I told her I felt like Thomas—I HAD to touch her hand to see if it was her in the flesh. We laughed, talked about life, and looked at the Bible. My heart aches to see her and her family saved.
Lord, give the people of Portugal a heart for you, and help them make you the priority in their lives. Give me wisdom for how to reach people and the persistence to keep trying, even if it takes eight tries to meet with them once.
Question to consider: How do you continue to persist in ministry? How do you know when to keep trying and when to give up? How do you dare to hope when there are no visible signs?