I was on my first call with a potential ministry partner (Jay*) and was trying to schedule an appointment for Thursday or Friday this week. I have sat for hours observing my colleagues make these kinds of calls May 2015, but I had never had the opportunity to make this kind of call myself.
"Would you be available on Friday at 1pm?" I asked.
"Sure, I think that would be okay," Jay* replied. Could it be possible I would make my first appointment on my first call, on the first call I ever made?
"Thank you! Where would it be convenient for us to meet?"
"Well, why don't you call me that day and we can see where we can meet."
With this response, I began to doubt the commitment of the potential ministry partner to be able to meet on Friday. I was planning to go along with my small group of new Nigerian missionaries, and I knew that this appointment was key to their training, and didn't want us to be disappointed. So, I skipped a step and went on to read the next part of the "blurb" that guided me in the call. "Jay*, I will be coming to this appointment with a few other missionaries. They have a tight schedule and can be available only at certain times..." then I asked "Are you sure you will be able to meet at that time?"
"Well, I am not too sure of when I will return to Jos," Jay* replied. Relieved, I arranged to call him back later when he was more sure of his schedule.
Several minutes later, I still did not have a single appointment. Some numbers rang, but no one answered. Some numbers didn't even ring! I had exhausted all of my contacts near to the office.
I wasn't discouraged though, I had set my goal to call four numbers of people near to the office and also four numbers of people who live on the road to the village where Christy used to work, just forty minutes outside of Jos. I picked up the phone and kept calling. "Hello Markus*? My name is Zachariah Yoder, a Bible translation missionary, and a friend of yours, Kevin*, suggested that I call you. Could we talk for a few minutes?"
In a few more minutes I had set two appointments. One man was a gentle elder, and the other a young seminary student. Both seemed interested in meeting and described to me exactly how I can find them on Thursday. I was bouncing with joy as I came out of the office. Can you join me in thanking God for these appointments?
On Thursday I will go along with Malgwi and Hubert, the Missionaries who are part of my small group of trainees. I will explain to the elder and later to the young seminary student about the great need for language development and Bible translation in Nigeria, how the Lord is using us to help meet that need, and what they can do to help. I will explain how they can become ministry partners both financially and through prayer.
Can you join us in praying that both of these appointments will hold, that both the elder and the seminary student will value and accept the opportunity to becoming Ministry partners? Will you pray that this will be a long term relationship with the Ministry partners in together seeing God's Word spread through all of Nigeria? Finally, can you please pray that each of us (including me) learns what God wants to teach us through this process?
* Note: I am using fictional names for the people I called.