Bob & Amber's Excellent Adventure

A few days ago Bob & Amber Leland stopped by to see me one final time before leaving this area. In a few weeks they will return to Irian Jaya for another term of missionary service. In case you don’t know, Irian Jaya is a part of the multi-island nation of Indonesia. It is on the other side of the world and the best thing to say about how to get there from here is that if you want to get there, you probably shouldn’t start from here. When we got together, Bob had something definite on his mind. He took out some sheets of paper and said he wanted to check on the answers to some prayer requests. There must have been almost fifty different items covering many different areas of our church life. Each one had been written down and the date noted. Some were labeled “Continual” and others were for specific needs. We went over each request one by one. Bob asked me to tell him if the request had been answered or not. He would write down Yes, No, or Not Yet depending on what I said. Some of the requests were for things such as revival in the congregation and spiritual power in the preaching of God’s Word. Others were very particular, such as additional workers for Caraway Street. One request was for the elder meeting in June 1998. I had no idea about that one so I assumed that whatever the need was, it must have been met. On and on we went, covering the church, the staff, and also Oak Park Christian Academy. Some of the requests went back to 1995. I marveled as I thought about the faithfulness of these two servants of Christ laboring in prayer on our behalf from the “Bird’s Head” coastline of Irian Jaya. I asked Bob when he and Amber started writing down prayer requests and noting the answers. He told me they started in 1971 because “we were bored with our prayer life. It seemed like we prayed and prayed but never heard about any answers.” So 30 years ago they began writing down specific requests. Whenever they agreed to pray for something or someone, they decided to go back later and find out how God had answered their prayers. And that’s why they had come to my office for one final visit. They wanted to know what God had done through their prayers. Bob told me that after three decades of doing this, they have discovered that approximately 89% of their prayers are answered Yes, 2% are answered No, and about 9% are answered Not Yet. “It’s hard to argue with that,” he said with a smile. Does God answer prayer? Just ask Bob & Amber Leland. They’ve got 30 years of proof.

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