Five time zones away, on the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, Africa, is a man from Kerrville, his wife and their three precious children. Their story is unique in that both Geoffrey and Nicole were called to missions and even to this part of the world before they ever met.
For many years through different circumstances, God was preparing them both for this work.
It reminds me of Eph. 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
And parallel to this, God was preparing and raising up people and churches like ours to care about missions and have the resources to send and support them.
Geoffrey’s father is from Sierra Leone, his mother from Canada. She always wanted to be a missionary, but the circumstances of her life prevented this desire from becoming reality. Now her son is, because of Eph. 2:10 and, in part, her influence on him. Her role wasn’t to go, but to raise and train and pour into Geoffrey that he might one day go. His love for all people was surely nurtured through this loving mother.
Geoffrey has never met a stranger and relates well and quickly with all kinds of people in all walks of life. He seems to fit into any culture or setting. No, not a coincidence. Eph. 2:10 in action.
Both Geoffrey and Nicole pursued degrees and training in the medical field (M.D. and occupational therapist, respectively), not to live the American dream, but to one day use these skills in a part of the world where needs are overwhelming and suffering is constant and deep. This sentence from their August newsletter speaks volumes: “Geoffrey has committed to one day a week coverage at two clinic sites, and Nicole will soon be assessing in-home therapy for the disabled and marginalized children in our local area.”
All in line with Eph. 2:10.
I continue to be amazed by this story, because it is a story of God’s providence and sovereignty and love for these precious people of this corner of Africa. Recently, during our video chat, Geoffrey was sharing with me the diversity of the people there. Nicole, an American missionary from Texas, has her hair cut by a Muslim man from Syria living in Africa! They cross paths with Egyptians, Pakistanis, Indians, Ukrainians and Syrians. They have access to Muslims, Christians, animists and others. This has, in some ways, surprised them, as well. But not God, of course. He planned it.
I shared with Geoffrey how amazing it would be if God sent him to Sierra Leone in part to cross paths with an Egyptian Muslim so he could show and tell Jesus to him and then he goes back home to Egypt with the gospel in his heart as a follower of Christ!
When we serve the God of gods and the Lord of all creation, we have no idea what all He may be up to that goes far beyond what we could ever ask or think. We make our little plans, we have our little strategies, and God must smile and think, “That’s cute. Now let me show you what I can do!”
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
We are His poem, His masterpiece, His work of art, saved by grace through faith in Christ for good works, not by our good works but for good works. Saved to serve. Saved to give. Saved to shine. But we don’t have to plan these good works in our own wisdom. God already has!
In eternity past, He not only planned our salvation, but He planned the good works that would flow from our salvation with the purpose in mind that we would walk in them. Walk. In. Them. Moment by moment, day by day, living in the realm of the noble and beneficial works God has laid out before us. How exciting!
May all who claim the name of Christ minister the gospel in word and deed wherever God has planted us. Let’s wake up each day, thank God for another day of life, and set our minds on walking in these pre-ordained good works that flow from our faith in Christ.
Chris McKnight is the pastor of Kerrville Bible Church. His column appears biweekly in The Kerrville Daily Times. He welcomes feedback and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.