by Fran Sandin
How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:14 ESV
In 2012 my husband, Jim, and I were ministry partners for “The Singing Men of Texas” and the Michael and Jan Gott International Ministries. We traveled on mission to Crimea.
In Sevastopol, where the Russian Baltic fleet is based, we visited a lovely area that had a shaded park and a large, decorative, white archway with steps leading down to the water’s edge—a great photo op. A small adjacent street market sold fashionable large-brimmed hats, and Jim bought one for me—a perfect black and white stripe. On a hot spring day, the extra covering came in handy.
At the Singing Men’s concert that evening, I met Ira. She grew up in a non-Christian home, but her parents were interested in her getting a good education. Ira did not want to be a Christian, because they endured constant discrimination and got the worst jobs. So she was fine with her life as it was.
However, when an opening came up for an interpreter at a Baptist church, her father encouraged her to apply so she could improve her English-speaking skills. Also, she might get a better job as a result. Yay! She got the church job.
One of her first services was to translate an English-speaker’s words to Russians. The pastor was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a strong southern drawl. She said, “I could barely understand him, much less translate!” But after listening to his sermons several times, she was beginning to understand.
One Sunday morning as she was translating the gospel message, Ira understood for the first time the love of Jesus in giving His life to save her. That very day she gave her heart to Him, with tears streaming down her face. She was converted through the sermon she was interpreting. That is the power of the spoken Word.
The Bible tells us words have power. Especially God’s words. He told Isaiah, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 ESV). His words are more than inspiring. They are transformative.
Now Ira is married to a church leader, and they are parents of two children. She supports women’s ministries, has done magazine editorial work, and actively participates in her church and community. Ira is enthusiastic about her faith. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she has a gift of encouragement. She is an asset in God’s Kingdom, and I feel so honored to have met her.
Dear Heavenly Father, Your children come from all parts of the globe. They are gifted in so many ways and are eager to spread the good news of salvation to all who will hear. Help us not take for granted the sacrificial gift of Jesus’ death in our place. Let it be fresh in our hearts every day so that we will want to share the good news of His love for others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Fran Caffey Sandin is a retired nurse, wife, mother, and grandmother in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, and Touching the Clouds: True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith. This devotional is an excerpt from her new book, HOPE on the Way, DEVOTIONS to Go, published by Roaring Lambs Ministries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For more information visit Fran’s website: www.fransandin.com.
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