Last week I took leaders from our Welcome Child and Birthmothers ministries to Hillcrest Children’s Home in Hot Springs, Arkansas—an amazing residential ministry to abused and neglected children. We were amazed at their well-developed plan for care. It should not have come as a surprise to us, since the Hillcrest team has been all about providing the best and most Godly care for children (and now unwed mothers) since 1944. We were blessed to spend time there and our leaders are eager to return with a Timberline Family Missions Team the first week in July, 2012. This trip is sure to be life-changing for those who come to serve in the “Ozark heat.”
I am struck by the story of how this ministry to children began. A single woman named Gladys Hinson felt called to go overseas and give her life to full-time missions service. She hit a wall when she discovered that the Assemblies of God, like most world missions organizations at that time, did not allow single women to be sent overseas as missionaries. In the 1940’s and for Gladys, the resistance was simply too strong and she was given a firm denial from those she asked to send and support her.
By the way…. thanks go to Timberline’s own Gwen Kovac who helped “turn the tides” in regards to this restriction against single women missionaries. Gwen pushed beyond these closed doors and served with excellence as an AG missionary. In doing so, she opened doors for many women who now serve as missionaries around the world.
Back to Gladys…. Even though I understand there must have been very good reasons Gladys was not allowed to serve overseas, I cringe when I hear stories like hers where people are denied the opportunity to live out what they believe God is calling them into for His purposes. Some pretty strong responses come to my mind: “What were they thinking?” “Get over yourselves and your rigid guidelines.” “She’s the one who is stepping out in faith here… Let her consider the cost.”
Thankfully, this story continues with a man whose response to Gladys’ devastating dilemma was far more productive than the responses that come to my mind. This visionary man who owned 65 acres in the rolling hills of Hot Springs, Arkansas, donated his land with a little one-story house so that Gladys could start a ministry for three orphan children. Her call to missions was as real as she thought it was, but her Maker’s specific purposes for her were different than what she had first believed. Not just different, but greater, if you ask any of the hundreds of fatherless children and unwed mothers who have found hope and salvation through this now expansive ministry.
I wonder how often we completely miss God’s call in our lives to some area of sacrifice for the sake of missions because His specific plan looks very different from what we envisioned when He initially stirred our hearts to action. May God give us the patience, the discernment, and the perseverance to “hear Him out.” I believe there is no more significant pursuit than finding our fit in loving and reaching people who are separated from God’s grace and mercy. I also believe that sometimes in that pursuit, we get to His perfect will only after He divinely redirects us.
-Pastor Mark Orphan
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
For more information about Hillcrest Children’s Home, click here.