by Sheri Schofield
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request (1 Chronicles 4:10, NIV).
My heart has always been focused on reaching children for Jesus, beginning at age thirteen when I helped with a Back Yard Bible Club with Child Evangelism Fellowship. I poured myself into children’s ministries after that. My focus for the future was on serving Jesus overseas. Eventually, the door opened for my husband Tim and me to head for Latin America. But just before we left for that work, one of my uncles angrily demanded, “Why are you going overseas when you are so effective here?”
I tried to explain. “If I am not effective here, I will not be effective overseas. So I’ve done my best to serve God well and effectively at home first.”
After one year serving overseas, Tim and I had to return to the States. I remembered that conversation. Apparently, God wanted me to serve here.
I poured myself into the children at church, and drove around the Helena, Montana valley praying for the children outside the church walls. I wanted to reach them for Jesus, too! But I had no idea how to do that. I was inspired to ask God for one of the same things Jabez asked: Enlarge my territory.
In 2014, I saw how parents—even those in our church—struggled to explain salvation to their children. Also, on a mission trip to Mexico, I received a note from a children’s ministry teacher saying she had no materials to use in teaching. Could I help?
Over the next three years, I wrote and illustrated a book to meet that need, both in the USA and Mexico, in English and Spanish. The Illustrations represent people of all nations. The Prince and the Plan became our vehicle for reaching children for Jesus. The Lord helped us give away about 4,000 books to children on our Montana reservations and in Helena, plus 1,000 books to our contacts in Mexico, with instructions to give them not only to the churches of our group, but also to the immigrant families coming across the border. If God was bringing little ones north, then we would meet them with the gospel.
Things began to wind down for our outreach. We’d saturated our town and the reservations with The Prince and the Plan. My husband started talking about retiring. I wasn’t ready! I felt there was follow-up work to be done. But in July, Tim decided we should move closer to our son, Drew. He decided we would move to Wyoming, where the deer and the antelope are supposed to play. (Actually, all they do is eat!)
I drove all over Wyoming looking for a house, but they all sold before I arrived. Before my last trip, the Lord told me to write down exactly what I wanted in a house. There were seven items. Then I said, “Lord, if you are taking me away from my beautiful mountains, I can be at peace with this.” I pictured a shade tree in a small back yard with a wooden fence and a flowering bush.
Upon reflection, that didn’t sound like me at all! But God led me to that house. The backyard view was what I’d pictured, and the house had all the other seven qualities I’d asked for. God had put that view in my head to guide me. Confident of God’s leading, we bought the house by faith.
It was then we discovered this town is 30% children! Ten percent of the population is Hispanic. This town is full of young families!
God has just given me what I asked: He has increased my borders. Again!
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at http://www.sherischofield.com.
Join the conversation: Have you asked God to increase your borders?