There once was a man who gave up a comfortable, affluent life to serve on the mission field. After serving in abject poverty for years he was asked how on earth could he adjust from a life where he had every material need to a life where he owned nothing. The missionary responded that he was richer today with nothing in his bank account than when he had money, homes and cars. The missionary exclaimed that while he now personally possessed nothing he was richer than when he had everything. The servant of the Lord stated that he now travels the world doing the Lord’s will and everywhere he goes the Lord provides him with places to stay, transportation, food, clothes and even luxuries. Churches, individuals and groups now give to the man what he needs. Long ago the Lord gave him riches, now the Lord gives riches to others to give to the missionary.
This is a story the Pettengill family is living. We are regularly asked how our family could give up two large incomes, a home in the suburbs with a swimming pool, Harley motorcycles, vacations and comfort? How could we go from having everything to living in Honduras? We are asked that regularly and we respond… easy. Nothing we previously owned was ours to begin with. But, honestly, God has made it easier than that. We don’t miss “having it all” because, today we have more than we could ever hope for.
Today, while the cold rain comes down outsider, this blog is being written from inside a warm, rent free home we were given to live in while on furlough. In the garage sit two cars we have been loaned to drive while we are on furlough. A church in Georgia gave us all the clothes in our closest. And, just last week we booked a 7-day cruise given to us by Faith Presbyterian Church of Ballentine, South Carolina. Faith is a church that supports our ministry. But more than that, they are friends, family and people who love us. Because they know us so well they purchased us a 7-day Mexico cruise to force us to relax. God placed on their hearts’ the desire to bless us, and resources to do so. So, in May we hop on a cruise ship for the first time in 10-years.
The Pettengill family owns no home. Our income is a fraction of what it used to be. According to many people close to us, we gave up everything to get nothing. Many people have called us foolish to our face. The truth is, trusting in the Lord ensured we have everything we ever wanted, and more. We are not promoting health and wealth gospel (have faith in the Lord and he will give you riches). We have experienced pain and suffering in our service to the Lord, and Scripture promises disciples of Christ pain for following him. But, all the time God provides us with what we need to serve him, and sometimes, a little more.