The task before me appeared impossible. I knew there was no way I could manage the remodeling of a facility that needed to be ready in three weeks to house a new Center of Influence in one of the largest cities of the Middle East. I was new in the area, I didn’t know the local language, and I certainly didn’t have a network of available tradesmen and workers.
Just to make the space usable, I needed walls put up, plumbing put in, an air conditioning system installed, new lighting hung, ceramic floor laid, every surface painted, and countless small maintenance tasks checked off. To do it all in three weeks meant it had to be very carefully coordinated too. But where was I to begin? I felt I would rather do almost anything else than to try to navigate such an impossible task. A job that would be relatively easy in my home country seemed overwhelming.
I took my impossibility to the Lord and cried out to Him. “You led us to find this place to rent. This is Your project. Now, please, help me get through the next three weeks to have this place ready to begin classes.”
But I couldn’t just pray; I had to begin doing something. I recalled Ehab, one of our current language school students, who had told me once in passing that he was a painter. I figured at least he was someone I knew, and he could speak simple English too! I felt confident enough to call for an estimate. The next day he slowly followed me through each room, eyeing every detail carefully. “No worries,” he assured me at the end. He felt he could easily organize the painting within our time frame.
With our business done, Ehab invited me to go out to eat with him and his brother. As busy as I was, I accepted; I’ve learned that doing business is relational, personal. Over lunch I listened intently to the brothers’ testimony of being led by God to leave their childhood faith and become Protestant Christians. My heart resonated with their sincerity and commitment; I was blessed.
Later that day, knowing I had little time to spare, I called and assured Ehab I would hire him. I had to ask him for a delay, though, because I knew I still needed to get other tasks completed before he could paint. I expected him to be understanding. I didn’t expect him to abruptly ask for a full list of what needed to be accomplished in the next three weeks. He wanted to know every single task. “I’ll help you get them all done,” he informed me.
He offered a simple explanation. After our lunch together, his brother had had a dream where God told him that I was God’s son and that Ehab was to help me with all that needed to get done. Ehab assured me that God had ordered him to help me and he was completely available to get the task done. It took me a few moments to register the unexpected offer. Then, Praise God! I felt like singing.
Ehab spent the next three weeks working every day, all day preparing the Center. He called in technicians for every task. He oversaw each person’s work. He personally negotiated the lowest prices possible. He let his own business wait until every item on our list was finished. Everything got done, with one day to spare. He even took more days off to help us move into the new facility.
How much did he charge? He wouldn’t allow me to pay him anything though he deserved three weeks of a working man’s income. Every time I insisted payment was due him, he would remind me that God had directly revealed through his brother that this was his task. He was working for God.
What could I say? There aren’t words enough to respond, only a prayer. Thank you, God, for carrying my burdens and managing Your work, for faithful, committed workers willing to take Your direction, for building our faith once more by showing Yourself faithfulness.