A SISTER SPEAKS
I began my itinerant ministry in response to God's call in my life, which was confirmed by Acts 26:15-18. I knew from his Word that I was to be his servant and a witness of Jesus Christ that would involve evangelism and discipleship around the world. One of the invitations I accepted was an opportunity to address approximately 1,000 pastors and church leaders. But when I stood up to speak, some of the men in the audience rose, reversed their chairs, and turned their backs to me. I went home and prayed, "Lord, you know that addressing an audience that includes men has not been a problem for me. But it is obviously a problem for them, and I can't continue to stand in the pulpit and ignore this."
As I searched the Scriptures for an answer, God seemed to remind me from John 20 that, following his resurrection, Jesus had commissioned Mary of Magdala in a similar fashion. God also seemed to speak to me from Jeremiah 1:7-8, commanding me to be obedient to my call, unafraid of "their faces"—or their backs. He reinforced this in verse 17, clearly commanding me to "Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them." In other words, I was not accountable to my audience, I was accountable to him.
What a blessing I received following my plenary address on the last morning of the International Conference of Itinerant Evangelists at Amsterdam '86. A young African evangelist came to me and said, "I thought God had called me to come to this conference, promising to speak to me here. I went to every meeting, to every workshop. I fasted and prayed and wept and pled with God. But he still did not speak. I thought I had come halfway around the world ...1
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