March 02, 2011


About 5 years ago, Nancy and I took our three kids to Ethiopia for a month of missions work. It was awesome, we learned so much together as a family about each other, and about serving the Lord together. You can read about our trip here. Erica had sent me an email during the first week of Garren's hospital stay. She had stumbled across one of my blogs describing an unexpected adventure that Garren and I went on. Basically, my camera was stolen, and we were presented with the opportunity to pray....a lot. You can read about the entire incident here.

Here is Erica's email:

"I'll start this by apologizing if it is long and hard to follow. I just wanted to share it with you since it has been on my heart this afternoon. I, along with many others, have been fasting and praying for you guys all day. During my planning time at work I was praying and then reading your blog. I began clicking on some of the links and to be honest, have no idea how I ended up where I did, but I was reading a post from your blog about your mission trip to Africa with Nancy and the kids. Phrases and words were practically leaping off the screen at me and felt the Lord's presence in a powerful way. At first I thought I was making too much of it (as I normally do when I am overwhelmed by God), but I reread the post again this afternoon and got that same overwhelming feeling. It was the post entitled "Leba, Leba". Below are some of the parts that stuck out to me the most...

I looked back to see what Garren was doing. He had made it safely half way across the street and was waiting for another car to pass.

It had all happened so fast. As we were walking I looked at Garren and said, “Are you praying?” He said “Yes.”

I tried to ask the one what was going on. He said “Relax.” So I did, and we waited.

As we waited, I contemplated prayer. We are supposed to pray according to the will of God. But I have to be honest. Although in the back of my mind, I thought “Your will be done,” deep down inside I was thinking, ‘My will be done, Lord, please get my camera back.” I don’t understand prayer, although I try. I have seen prayer work, I have seen God do amazing things. But I still don’t understand how prayer works. Why does God care if I get my camera back? I don’t understand.

“Jesus, please give me the camera back.” Again we waited.

I was floored, I didn’t know whether or not to get my hopes up, so I didn’t. Then I remembered, when we pray we should pray expectantly. Why ask for something, if we don’t think we will get it? I had been asking Jesus to get my camera back. But why did I still doubt?

Everyone was very helpful. I thanked the Lord again for answering my prayers. The police took a picture of the camera, and handed it to me. I put it right into my pocket, and off we went, back home with an amazing story to tell.

And as a mother, this one phrase stuck out in a huge way:

I knew Nancy must be quite concerned by this time, so I prayed that she would be at ease.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense to you, or if this only lines up in my mind, but I absolutely couldn't get it out of my head. I had to share it with you. I will continue to pray and wait expectantly. I love you guys!"
- Erica

Thank you Erica! What impressed me most about this is that prayer, not matter how big or little your circumstance, is important. Whether you're praying for something as serious as the life of a loved one, or for something as small as a stolen camera, God cares, and wants to hear from us. In fact, I don't think the object of our prayer is the point at all. It's the dependence on God that is most important.

What are you holding on to? Give it to God. Depend on Him.

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." - Psalm 55:22


Anonymous said...

Not sure how I missed this post, but just now came across it while I was checking for an update. I've read some of your stories on the mission to Ethiopia and they helped answer how old should my kids be before we take them on a mission. I don't think age really matters, just as I've seen with pictures of you and Nancy and the kids on your trips. My kids can't read yet, but my daughter has memorized her entire children's Bible and will happily share it with anyone who will listen. I don't know Erica, but her post made perfect sense to me. I like what you said Pastor about why pray if you don't believe in what you're praying for. I think we forget that sometimes, and I know for sure I'm guilty of that. I believe in my prayers for Garren, we all do, so we'll keep them going. In for the long haul, The Sisk Family

Kim said...

I wasn't sure how I missed this post either, but it came at the right time. I was just having a mental debate about whether I should bother praying about a situation that has been going on for so long. It seems as if the situation has only gotten worse, and I am weary of it. So I guess all I can say is "thank you for posting this".
I will keep praying for Garren and each of you!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear family...I hope today/tonight finds you able to has been a trying week for all of you. Now, it is time to stop and again, find rest and peace in God..praying for proud of him and that he is trying to do as the therapists suggest...don't give up, Garren, each baby step will lead to a bigger step some day...we know Him who is able to help you, and ask Him to do so...for the rest of you, take a deep breath, and trust in our & prayers, Sandy & Russ

Laura said...

Pastor Geoffrey,
I just want to say that your strength is an inspiration. I am new to the church but I have been nothing but impressed with you as a person. Thank you so much for being a solid, real human being that has taken such an interest in helping us find a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

It is so amazing how God works. I needed to hear that verse (Psalm 55:22) so badly today! I sent that email nearly a month ago and it reappeared exactly at a time when I needed to be reminded of the power that comes from total dependence in God. We continue to pray expectantly for Garren and your family as well as all the people that are being led on a journey to know Jesus through this time!

Erica...and the rest of the Mann family :)

Anonymous said...

I just came across this post...I missed it somehow. I agree with the statement that you must believe in what you're praying for, otherwise why bother? I'm doing a study right now called "Believing God". It has taught me so much about prayer and believing that God is who he says he is, he can STILL do what he says he can do...the point is this...alot of us say we believe in God, but how many of us truly BELIEVE in God? How many of us believe that he can still perform the same miracles today as he did so many years ag? When I pray for Garren with our family, I just feel certain God's presence is all over him. I've felt this whole time this would all turn out well. I've never doubted and refuse to not BELIEVE that God is in control and Garren will be back to his old self eventually. This is a test of patience and faith for certain. I believe that Garren will be better and stronger when this whole thing is said and done. I know that all of us that are praying for him will definatly be stronger. We continue to pray and believe, as long as it takes.

Love ya'll!
Donna, Ritchie, Racheal, Katherine, Luke, Madelyn and Brady