Most of us have sung the words to this old song: One is the loneliest number. And while one may be lonely, the Bible makes it clear that one is of incredible value to our Lord.
In the Bible we read of one lost son, one lost coin, one lost pearl of great price and one lost sheep.
In this month’s blog you will not read about thousands of walking sticks handed out or hundreds praying to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Instead, the focus will be on the value of one.
Before leaving for Minnesota, Pete and I were invited to set up the Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ tent for Easter service along the banks of the beautiful Peace River in Punta Gorda, Florida. The music was fantastic, and Pastor Aaron Smith of The Rock Calvary Chapel gave a powerful resurrection message. Following the message, several made decisions for Christ, and Pete and I were blessed to give Family Devotion Bibles to new believers.
Following the service, the church provided free food for all– hamburgers, BBQ, hotdogs, and drinks. While everyone stood in line for food, one young man, about 12-years-old, came up to our tent. As we shared the story of the beads with him, his attention was clearly fixed on the meaning of each single bead.
And this one precious boy prayed for salvation. Even though we gave away countless walking sticks and toys that day, this young man was the only one who made a salvation decision under the Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ tent.
Oh, the plans God must have for this one pearl of great price!
As we do prior to beginning all our journeys, Pete and I prayed for opportunities to share the Gospel and Fellowship of Christian Farmer walking sticks with those we would meet along our road to Minnesota. He faithfully answered, opening several doors as we headed north.
Even so, we had a knowing that God had something more, a specific person He was determined that we meet. And as we traveled north that knowing kept growing.
The opportunity came in Iowa City.
And the enemy did all he could to thwart God’s plans.
We had faithfully made hotel reservations for every night on the road except our final night. It wasn’t that the hotel chain we like to stay with didn’t have vacancies in our destination town of Iowa City. They did. But the nightly rate was far more than we would ever consider spending. Even though Pete told me to go ahead and book a room, I could not force myself to spend that kind of money for one night’s lodging. We would soon learn that the enemy didn’t want us staying there either. Several times I went to the reservation page, filled in all the required information right up to where it asked for our credit card, only to exit out of reservations before taking that final step to reserve.
“I can’t do it,” I told Pete. “I figured out that the hotel is right next to the University of Iowa Medical Center. That’s why it’s so expensive.”
Just hours before we were to stop for the night, I gave in to Pete’s prompting. “We’ve stayed under budget,” he said. “It’s where we’re supposed to spend the night.”
As I walked toward the check-in desk, a money-saving temptation popped into my mind. I won’t tell them we have a dog. If we sneak Bella in, we can at least save the $40 pet fee. After all, they’re charging us too much already.
That’s when another voice spoke to my heart. Isn’t that cheating? Will cheating honor God?
With dollar signs fading from view and my head back on straight, I checked in telling the young lady at the desk that we have a dog. “Oh, how sweet,” she said. “I’d love to see her.”
The above photo tells some of the story. Like us, Bella enjoyed her stay with a clear conscience. She enjoyed looking out the window without fear of being spotted and was able to relax enough to enjoy her treats. We were able to share the walking sticks and story of the beads with hotel staff (walking sticks are leaning against the dresser), knowing we had not been deceptive.
And when we checked out, we found out the hotel was actually no more expensive than the others. Maybe because of their proximity to the hospital and the amount of companion dogs they hosted, we were not charged for Bella. Besides that, taxes in Iowa were far less than the other states we stayed in.
The next morning Pete had his weekly early morning zoom meeting. To give him the privacy he needed, I headed down to the hotel’s breakfast area for a cup of coffee. After selecting a table in a corner by the window where I could get some reading done, I headed straight for the shiny coffee urn.
On my way back to my table I passed a lady sitting alone at a long table that could have accommodated at least 10 people. “You can sit with me,” she offered.
“That’s ok. I’m waiting for my husband, and I already have a place to sit.” I pointed to the far corner of the room where my phone and reading material reserved my perfect table for two.
What’s wrong with you! The thought invaded my head before I reached my table. That woman is lonesome. How can you turn your back on her? I picked up my belongings and returned to the lady’s table. “I’d love to sit with you.” I placed my coffee cup on the table. “Thanks for the invite.”
We had barely finished introductions (her name is Connie), before she started telling me her story. A large pink pillow-like contraption was wrapped around her middle to protect the areas where she’d recently had surgery. “This hasn’t been a good year for me.” She adjusted her pink pillow. “First my house burned down, forcing me to live in my garage, and now this.” She pointed to her pillow. “Cancer in the lining of my chest. They aren’t sure they got it all.”
I felt useless and had no idea what to say to this precious woman who had been through so much. Lord, give me the right words. Don’t let me speak until you want me to speak and only let me say the things you want me to say. As I became powerfully aware of my inadequacy and His adequacy, a peace came over me, a feeling that God was in control of my tongue and heart.
I quietly listened to her story; a tale of a life filled with disappointments. It was the story of a young 18-year-old girl who bought her first home just before entering the military, the home that had just burned to the ground, the home where she raised her children on her own, where she fought hard through multiple illnesses and devastating losses.
And when the silence came, I asked the only question God had placed on my lips. “May I pray for you?”
She nodded and bowed her head as I gently placed my hand on her shoulder. By this time Pete had joined us and I knew he was silently praying because the words that flowed from my mouth did not come from my mind, carefully crafted to sound holy and powerful. They were simple, an answer to Pete’s silent prayer and my earlier prayer that God would only let me say the things He wanted me to say.
I don’t remember all that I prayed. These are the details I recall: I prayed for the doctors treating her that God’s hand would be on them, filling them with wisdom and skill. I prayed for Connie’s healing and that Connie would know how much God loves her, that Jesus died to pay for her sins…I remember praying the full Gospel presentation, everything except the commitment question, because at the very moment I should have asked the question her friend, a rough looking man with an even rougher sounding vocabulary, approached to reminded her that it was time to leave for her doctor appointment.
She quickly left her half-full coffee cup on the table and walked away.
Pete and I stayed at the large table for quite some time after Connie and her friend left. I’m not sure why but her coffee cup sitting on the table as if it was waiting for her return touched my heart with sadness.
Connie would not return.
A heaviness fell on my spirit. I hadn’t had opportunity to pray with Connie for salvation. Connie was seriously ill. Who knew how many days or months she had before she would take her final breath?
“I feel so sad.” I reached across the table for Pete’s hand. “I didn’t ask Connie if she wanted to trust Jesus. Even though it was time for her doctor appointment, I should have.” Even before the words were out of my mouth, God reminded me of the prayer He had answered just minutes before.
Only let me say the things you want me to say.
There are times I don’t understand what God is doing. Why didn’t he prevent the rough-mouth man from interrupting just when it was time to ask Connie if she wanted to be saved?
I don’t know.
But I trust.
I trust that God’s ways are always perfect. I trust that He has someone else who will talk to Connie at just the right time, and she will have the opportunity to turn to Jesus for salvation. After all, if God cares about a single lost son, one lost pearl, one lost coin, or one lost sheep, he cares all the more for one lost and cancer-ridden Connie.
I pray and I continue to trust that one day in heaven Connie and I will sit down, perhaps at a table for two. We’ll talk about Jesus over cups of delicious steaming drinks and Connie will share all the details of how she came to know Jesus. There will be no talk of cancer or homes burning to ashes. Great joy will fill every word.
And not one drop of our heavenly drinks will be left in our cups when our conversation is over.
I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 1Timothy 2:3-6:
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
As I write this blog, we’ve been in Minnesota for a week. It has been a joy reconnecting with family, and we look forward to seeing old friends in the weeks to come. We continue to firm up ministry plans for this summer and fall.
We are grateful for each person, including each of you, God has placed in our lives.
Our great grandson Jesse grows so much between each of our visits to Minnesota.
Our great granddaughter precious Stella Marie. I wonder how much she will grow and change while we are in Minnesota.
Our granddaughter Cassie, her husband Eric, and our newest great grandbaby who will soon make his entrance into this world. We made it to Minnesota in time to celebrate their baby shower. Such joy!
Sandy and her 93-year-young mom at the baby shower.
Pete and his sister Diane at the shower.
Sandy and her nutty sister Diane.
What a joy to attend our granddaughter, Emily’s, last high school band concert.
And in-between the fun times, we make plans for future ministry events. We have already made the necessary contacts to take part in Farmfest, a 50 acre event with over 500 exhibitors and vendors. This is a huge event, on par with the one in Georgia.
We have started work on plans to be part of this year’s International Conference on Missions (ICOM) which will take place on November 3-5 in Columbus, Ohio at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. At this time there are already 300 mission organizations registered and we earnestly pray God will work it out so we will be able to be part of this important conference. What a joy it will be to take part in this event and share the work and vision of the Fellowship of Christian Farmers with churches and other mission groups. An added bonus is that our son, Peter, will be one of the speakers. May God’s will be done.
Pete and I are so grateful for your prayers and support. We treasure you all. Please continue to keep us in prayer. We need your powerful prayers as we travel the road leading closer and closer to the return of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Praise God for safe travel to Minnesota and for His repair of our car air conditioner.
Praise Him for the prayer and financial support from dear friends and family.
Praise Him for continued health and ability for both of us to be in ministry together at this time in our lives.
Praise God for each person we come in contact with and the story we have to share.
Most of all, we praise God for salvation and God’s plan for our lives…and your life.
Please pray for Bill Brown’s health and strength as he continues fighting cancer.
Pray for Pete’s brother Dave. His stomach tumor has returned, larger than before surgery. He is currently battling pneumonia.
Pray for the folks we have shared with that they will grow in Christ and that they will be protected from the enemy’s lies and snares.
Please pray for Connie, the lady from Iowa with cancer. Pray for her healing and most of all, her salvation. She is important to God, a precious lost pearl.
Our time with Bill and Kathy in New York in July for Stick Days and additional events. Safe travel, provision, souls saved, precious fellowship, and lots of sticks readied for next season’s events.
Wisdom and God’s will for a recently discovered scheduling conflict. We want to make the right choice.
Sandy fell down a flight of stairs and is having quite a bit of pain in her back and neck following the fall. Please pray for healing.
Please pray for upcoming events, Anoka’s Craft Fair, Farmfest, additional events we have learned of just today that we will be wise in making decisions.
Please pray that we will be able to attend the International Conference on Missions November 3-5. The cost for a 10 x10 booth space is high, $495, plus the cost of travel and transporting the sticks to Ohio.
Thank you. We treasure your prayers and we pray for you. May you always be…
In His Grip,
Pete and Sandy Singer