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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Just A Small Town Boy


Matt, a young college student at the University of Central Arkansas, found himself in tears as his plane began to take off and head back to the United States. He never cries but God was tugging at his heart as he looked out the window over Africa. He just couldn’t shake the words spoken to him earlier by a Pastor in South Africa as he was on the plane leaving Mozambique.   “Matt, God has huge plans for you on this continent.”

Was God truly calling him to be a missionary? Was he really ready for this type of ministry and faith?

Matt returned to the states, and he continued on with his classes at UCA. He had another opportunity arise to return to Mozambique, Africa for a year of mission’s work. He accepted. Little did he know that this trip would change his life forever.

During this year, Matt saw so many deaths and spiritual warfare was extreme. His parents and his girlfriend, Andrea, made a trip to visit him mid-way through his yearlong stay. It was during this time, he proposed to Andrea before she returned to the US. His last night in the country of his year-long tenure was in the capital city, Maputo. While waiting on his flight to go back to America, God told him, “This is your city.” Matt knew God was preparing him to make Africa his home, but he worried about Andrea. Would she be willing to live here? Would she be willing to give up everything and come to Africa with him?

Matt returned back to the United States, and he asked Andrea to meet with him. Andrea asked if they could meet in the prayer room at 3 a.m. at the Chi Alpha house, which was the campus ministry house they were both involved in.  She had signed up to pray during that hour during their campus ministry’s 24-hour prayer time.  They met in the prayer room, and Matt began to tell Andrea the words God had spoken to him. He knew he was putting his heart on the line, and he knew his future was about to change dramatically. As he spoke the words, Andrea’s soft smile shined in the dim lit room. She looked at him as he stumbled over his words trying to explain everything that God had done in him in the past year. She couldn’t help but to fall more in love with him as he spoke with passion about how God had called him to Africa. Then, he asked her if she was willing to come with him to Africa to make it their new home. Andrea replied with no hesitation, “Ok! Let’s go.”

Andrea had never felt called to missions before, and she knew her calling in life was so different than Matt’s call to missions. However, she knew she loved him so much that she was willing to follow him as God would condition her heart for the call as well. For Andrea, it was “see a need, fill a need.” She began to think of all the college students in Africa, and she was heartbroken thinking that these students in Africa did not have the same opportunity she had had in college. She wanted them to have the chance to be part of a community like she had experienced. It was like having a bonus family being part of the Chi Alpha ministry at UCA. So, together, Matt and Andrea decided that that’s what their missions work would be… Campus Ministry in Africa.

Now, years later, God paved the way for Matt and Andrea. They run many successful Chi Alpha Campus Ministries in 30+ campuses in three different cities! They have worked hard hanging fliers all over the city inviting college students to be part of the campus movement. Students’ lives are changing.

God is moving but in the midst of all this…

Tragedy struck…

Cyclone Idai hit the central part of Mozambique, Africa. 

Over 80 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds more are still missing and cannot be located or identified.

Matt and Andrea’s GodWink Story To be continued…

Sometimes in life things will seem to be going great. Life is perfect. Then, tragedy will strike. Out of nowhere, a storm will hit. We could probably all recall a moment in our life when this has happened. It feels as if the wind has been knocked out of our sail. Sometimes, it just leaves us in shock. In those moments, it’s hard to stay calm and keep our focus on Jesus. However, it’s in these times, we have to! You can choose to give up and give in, or you can choose to press on. I want to encourage you to press on! Don’t give up. You’ve got this! Let your story be your testimony of overcoming the biggest battle that seemed impossible to man to become possible with God!

2 Corinthians 4:18~ So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.

GodWinks: the unexplainable moment in life when it can only be GOD!

Photo credit given to Matt and Andrea Marlin

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