When I was three years old I went on my first missions trip. (Back then it was still called missions. None of the hip folk were around yet to shorten it to mission.) My parents toted me along to France for a couple of months.
Like my dad I would later graduate from Bible college. Like my dad I wanted to be a missionary.
But for my dad it was not to be.
As with most occupations, someone applying to be a missionary needs references. I don’t know how many they needed. It does not really matter. One of their references was from a man in their church who wrote something to convince the mission board my parents were not fit for full-time service. So my parents never made it into full-time missions. My dad spent his life in a 40 degree dairy cooler at Kroger. While just a short time after giving that negative recommendation, the man left the faith and his wife.
Several years after I married Abigail, I found out “the rest of the story.” That man was married to Abigail’s aunt- then left her and the faith.
Think of that.
My wife’s uncle kept my parents (and me) from living on the mission field.
Then he left his wife and the church.
And my dad spent his life working in a big refrigerator.
What might have been? What if my parents had chosen someone different for the reference? What if that man would not have said what he said? Maybe I would have grown up in France.
But then I would never have met that man’s then 1-year old niece.
He changed the life of my family forever.
Yet without him I would probably not have my family.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21