By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
How does a casual conversation in an office supply store lead to a minister bringing Bibles to war-torn regions? Only by following God’s lead, one step at a time.
God doesn’t require us to understand the complete picture or do seemingly big things. All He requires is for us to trust Him and be faithful.
“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NIV
As we are faithful to follow the Lord in our daily lives, with the people directly in our sphere of influence, God is faithful to multiply that work in the Kingdom.
“I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6 NKJV
That’s what happened with CFFM believers Carl and Linda Youmans. They live in a little town in rural Ohio, but God worked through their faithfulness and love to spark a couple halfway across the world.
Little People, Mighty Works
As Brian Schwartz put it when he and wife shared at a CFF Sunday morning: “The Lord brought us together to accomplish a mighty work.”
Brian and his wife Beth live with their two children in Manila, Philippines. Brian serves as business administrator and facility manager for Faith International Academy, a school that seeks to provide quality Christian education for missionary children.
When they met the Youmans, Beth was working in administration for Wycliffe Bible Translators, overseeing finance for more than 200 translation projects in Southeast Asia.
But, as Beth explained, “Changes started that day at the Walmart.”
The Schwartz’s were in Ohio, where Brian is from, and stopped at a Walmart to get some office supplies. The Walmart they stopped at was the same store where Carl worked.
From a simple request for help locating an item, the conversation then turned to what the Schwartz’s were involved in and the home fellowship that Carl and Linda lead.
From Fear to Faith
With salvation comes the holy spirit, and with that, all nine manifestations – which are available to all believers. Carl and Linda believe this wholeheartedly and act accordingly.
So, at their home fellowship, people speak in tongues, interpret, and prophesy. Although Beth works in Bible translation, she had never been exposed to the “heavenly language” before.
Beth shared that even though she was scared, because the Youmans were “so loving and so caring,” she stayed. And when Carl made the invitation for anyone who was physically ill to come forward for ministering, Beth went forward.
“I thought ‘do I have to go? But the holy spirit kept kicking me ‘go, go!’” Beth laughed.
Due to physical complications, Beth was unable to even walk straight when she went forward. But when Carl ministered to her, Beth said she felt warmth from her head to her toes.
More Than the Physical
But God wasn’t just healing Beth’s body. He was preparing her heart and building her faith for her next spiritual assignment.
Back in the Philippines, Beth began to have a reoccurring dream. She would be walking home from the grocery store, and people in different costumes and attire would surround her begging.
She tried to give away her groceries, but they would cry ‘this is not what we need.’ So, she went into her house to grab her Bibles, but when Beth came back outside, everyone was gone.
This dream was like an itch you can’t scratch. It bothered Beth, but she wasn’t sure what to do about it yet.
Then, she learned that at her office in Manila, there were 1000’s of Bibles molding in storage. More than 30 years prior, men and women had labored to translate Scripture into those particular dialects, but the regions the languages came from were dangerous and war-torn.
Nothing Too Big for God
However, with God, there is no obstacle too big to face.
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27 NIV (see Genesis 18:10-14 as well)
Beth left her computer-based job for a position in distribution, working on the field, taking Bibles where others would dare to tread. She currently serves as the Obo Manobo Old Testament Translation Project Manager and Guesthouse Manager.
“Without Carl, I don’t know if I’d be prepared to do this kind of work,” Beth said.
Eight years after that initial Walmart encounter, the Youmans and the Schwartz’s are still close. They refer to each other as family, and continue to speak life and courage into one another.
But, you don’t have to work in retail or Bible distribution to be a life-changer of the Lord.
“Each one of us has a mission field. Our mission just happens to be in the Philippines,” Brian declared.
Fellow believers, where is your mission field? Who is in your sphere of influence right now? What word can you speak to someone in encouragement and truth today?
“And Jesus came and spoke to the [eleven disciples], saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV
To learn more about what they do, send a digital note, or offer support to Brian and Beth Schwartz, visit their Wycliffe Ministry partner page.