Home » E-News, News, Uncategorized

If Only . . . . by Ray Willis

20 April 2016 No Comment

1993_jimrayOn September 10, 2001, a team of short-term missionaries was preparing to travel to Saint Petersburg, Russia. Within 24 hours, the world changed, and that team, like most, felt quite uncertain about what the future would hold. By week’s end, that team was forced to decide whether or not they would follow through with their plans to travel to Russia. I was one of those people.

To be honest, I was overwhelmingly on the side of cancelling, and, as a leader, I thought most would be in agreement. I presented my case for cancelling given the palpable fear that shrouded our nation. I was stunned, however, to find that I was alone in my sentiments. One by one, team members spoke out in support of going to Russia, though just two days removed from the flight-ban having been lifted on airlines. I am no dictator, and it did not take long before I acquiesced to the desires of the team to follow through with our plans.

I tried my best to contain the fear I had within, and was bolstered by the confidence exhibited by team members as we boarded our first flight. There were so few traveling at that point, and each airport we flew in and through had endless lines of planes rimming the runways. We eventually arrived in Russia safe and sound. In the days following, I experienced a level of ministry that captivated my heart. It was then that I fell in love with Russia and her people, and I cannot imagine my life without the experiences I’ve had over the years.

Looking back, I am struck by the notion of how seminal that trip was for me and the others on that team. It was the first foray into Russia for all of us, and most have returned and continue to minister in Russia to this day. And that’s really my point. The world can be a scary place, but in the midst of it all, Jesus’ words provide perspective and direction: “Peace I leave with you. My
peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). In 2001, I nearly succumbed to fear, and my life would have ventured onto another trajectory. If not for my teammates who chose to appropriate the peace that only Jesus provides, I would be a poorer person. May peace rule in your hearts and minds.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree