What is deputation? Deputation can be defined in many ways. It can be defined by thousands and thousands of seemingly endless miles. Personally, we have only traveled about 36,000 miles through the first 17 months of our deputation, but I know some missionaries who regularly drive close to 5,000 miles a month! Why so many miles? Because we will go wherever God allows us to go just for an opportunity to tell one more church about the great need for the Gospel in Chile. We will sleep in a different bed each night and meet many people who will soon become mere faces in our memories; just so we can remind them what a great God we serve and how there are billions of others around the world who may have never heard of God’s saving grace.
Deputation can be defined by testing. We have not experienced many frightening events while on deputation; however, I would like to share the time our car started to stutter less than halfway to a conference in Georgia. There was no opportunity to get it looked at, as it was during the middle of a downpour. All we could do was pray and keep driving, trusting God to get us there in time.
Then there were times when the budget was stretched tight, especially early on in our deputation. It seemed the love offerings were not ample to cover the cost of our gas and lodging. Deputation tested our patience, as long trips often added stress to our young marriage (we started deputation less than two months after we were married).
I would not say we ever lost our composure, but we often had to dig deep and trust in the Lord to find the patience to endure. Yet through it all, God provided.
Lastly, I would define deputation as a blessing. As the trials and testings came, the blessings soon followed. We made it to our conference in Georgia with time to spare and the repairs did not break the budget. When our budget did get stretched, we would visit a church that was more than generous with their love offering, or an unexpected check would come in the mail. Moreover, when our patience was stretched beyond what we could seemingly endure, God always gave grace to guide and help us through. If anything, I would say our young marriage might be stronger than most simply because it has been tested. God has blessed beyond measure, but He would not have had the opportunity to bless us if we had not been willing to be tested. We would not know the joy if we had not experienced the pain. We would not know how great God is if we had not put ourselves in a position where we realized how dependent we must be upon Him.
I say this carefully and I say it humbly: I hope, trust, and pray that we might be what God wants us to be because we were willing to take that first step of faith and begin deputation. Now, as the end is truly in sight, we give Him all the honor, praise, and glory for what He has allowed us to do for Him. It is amazing how far He has brought us in such a short period of time.