If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that if you take care of God’s business, He’ll take care of yours. He’ll sustain you, and open doors that you would never have imagined!
My wife Melina and I were stranded in London with 200 pounds (90 kilograms) of luggage. Our final destination was Cyprus, where we would serve as volunteer missionaries, shepherding a small Adventist community in the city of Larnaca.
When we started our journey, we were still missing some important documents that we’d need to get into Cyprus. However, we had been assured they’d be ready to pick up in London.
Little did we imagine the documents would take four weeks to arrive. We had planned to stay for only seven days! If you’ve been to London, you know how expensive things are there. We didn’t know anyone in the area and had no idea what to do. So we prayed a lot and waited for God to reveal a plan. And He had one!
I’ve learned that when I don’t understand what’s happening in my life, I can choose to put myself in God’s hands. In time, He’ll decipher the mystery. He’ll connect me with people who will bless me, and He’ll help me realize that His plan was the best thing that could have happened to me.
And so it was. In this cloud of uncertainty, the Lord put us in the path of a special person. Her name was Rocio. We met her the first Friday night we spent in London, just before we preached at a local church. Without knowing us or our need, she invited us to stay in her home for as long as we needed to. Incredible! For us, that gesture was like a cold glass of water in the middle of the desert! We gratefully accepted her offer.
I asked Rocio why she did this, and I’ll never forget her response. “Elias, I always dreamed of having a room to receive people who need help, just like the Shunammite woman in the Bible who hosted the prophet Elisha. I asked God for a room, and He gave me one. I’ve hosted many people. I’m very happy doing this, and God has blessed me.”
Rocio’s testimony captivated me. She taught me so much about hospitality and self-denial. When we settled in the room at her apartment, we realized it wasn’t a guest room but her own room. She had chosen to sleep with her daughter so that we would feel more welcome.
A few weeks later, we finally arrived in Larnaca. The local church leaders had rented us an apartment for a week to give us time to look for long-term accommodations. But as soon as we started looking, we realized how difficult finding something was going to be. Because it was springtime, Cyprus was filled with tourists. Most of the rentals we found were available for only one week and very expensive.
Soon, we had only one day left before we needed to move. We spent most of it with the pastor searching for a home, but we found nothing. Facing uncertainty again, we chose to trust God.
That afternoon, we received an unexpected call. It was from Ina, an Adventist church member from London, calling from her apartment on the outskirts of Larnaca. We didn’t know her, but she asked us to come to visit. We were hesitant at first because we didn’t have a moment to lose, but she was so insistent, we finally agreed.
When we arrived, Ina greeted us with great affection. After a brief conversation, she invited us to tour the apartment. We didn’t understand why, but we graciously agreed. At the end of the tour, she said, “I’m leaving in a few hours for my home in London. If you want, you can stay here as long as you need to. The house will be empty for several months, and you don’t need to pay me anything.”
We were stunned.
“Is this a joke?” the pastor asked.
“Not at all,” she replied with a smile.
“Why?” the pastor continued. “Wouldn’t it be better for you to rent it for income?”
“Perhaps,” Ina replied, “but God is very good to me, and I feel that helping the mission at Larnaca is the least I can do for Him. Besides, I’ve seen that everything I give God, He returns to me with interest.”
Ina’s words reminded me of Rocio. The two women had giving hearts, and as a consequence, they saw the hand of God working in their lives.
We stayed in Ina’s apartment for a month, and it was a tremendous blessing. I’d like to publicly thank Ina and Rocio for their practical Christian spirit, for showing me how to give without expecting anything in return. We can trust in God, who always provides!
If you’re interested in being a volunteer, visit AdventistVolunteers.org.