Pearls of Faith, an International Adventure
Pearls of Faith...my story of beginning an international ministry.
As written and printed by Religion Journal.
A Rewarding Journey with Pearls of Faith
Pastor's wife travels across the ocean, not knowing why.
Can one person do big things for God? Ask Kari Anderson, an unassuming pastor's wife who lives on a small sheep farm in Iowa – and has started an international ministry.
Five years ago, Anderson's children approached her out of the blue with a suggestion. Air fare to London was quite inexpensive, they hinted. She laughed. But the next day, the children persisted. "Why are you laughing at us? We think God wants you to go there," they said.
Anderson sensed that God was speaking to her through her children. So, with a few pearls of faith and the blessing and encouragement of her husband, Mark, but not really knowing why, Anderson boarded a plane for London.
Alone in the big city, she met a young Muslim Turk, she told religionjournal.com. "When he found out I was a 'fanatic,' as he called me, he wanted to discuss religions." They sipped tea and carried on a long conversation about God.
Then, as Anderson and the man were saying goodbye, God broke in, she said. On a busy street in London, in the middle of rush hour, Anderson had what she described as a "dramatic experience with the Holy Spirit."
Public Subway Sign, London, England
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She felt God's presence "totally surrounding me, pressing me all around. I was 100 percent sure it was God. I nearly fainted and had to hold on to a railing to keep standing up." Anderson had never experienced anything like the sensation, even at her church, a charismatic congregation in Muscatine, Iowa, called Church of the Living Water.
"I knew it was something from God, but didn't understand it or know why it was happening to me," she said. All Anderson knew was that her experience had something to do with the man she had just spoken with. She took his address and flew back with her pearls of faith to the United States.
Back in Muscatine, "the Holy Spirit prompted me to write to (the man) once a week," Anderson said. But before long, her letters began returning, stamped "No such address." The man had given her a false address. Still, she felt she should keep writing. "I felt silly, but was convinced that God was doing something in all this."
One day while she was praying, Anderson sensed that God was telling her to return to London and find the man. Her husband encouraged her to follow God's leading, and she arranged to take a missions trip working on an outreach in London under the direction of Holy Trinity Brompton, a London Anglican church. Anderson, four of her children and a friend boarded a plane.
In London, the group was busy, but Anderson used every spare minute and pearls of faith to search for the man. She had only a false address, a photo, a packet of returned letters, "lots of encouragement from the Holy Spirit, and a mustard seed of faith."
With no other leads, finding him in a city of 8 million people seemed hopeless. Then God broke in again. "I went up for prayer after a service at Holy Trinity Brompton, and before I said a word, the lady praying for me said, 'God told me to tell you this: Keep looking.' "
On the last day of the trip, a librarian helping Anderson look up names in registry books called her aside. "I'm not supposed to do this ... but maybe he took out a library card," the librarian said. Sure enough, there was the Muslim man's name and correct address.
"I had just enough time and pearls of faith to go to this address and talk with his landlady. I left the big packet of returned letters and told her to tell him to please call me." Three days after Anderson and her group returned home, he called. "Please forgive me for giving you a false address," the man said. "I cried when I read all those letters. I want to be your friend and a friend of your family's."
That began the Anderson family's extended friendship with a Turkish Muslim. Since the man was moving back to Turkey, he invited the Andersons to visit him there and to meet his family. He also has visited the Andersons in Iowa.
Kari Anderson, 53, is now planning her fourth trip to Turkey. Mark Anderson, 60, also has come with her on one trip, and he encouraged Kari to take the other trips. Each time Anderson visits Turkey, she meets new people and builds more friendships.
Cruise on the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey
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Turks are known for their hospitality, and visitors don't need to tell their hosts they are coming, but "just show up," said Anderson, who enjoys that kind of casualness. "They are lovely people, and it's very heartwarming. For instance, they quietly ask if we have Bibles with us and could they please have one."
Turks are "easy to talk to about God," Anderson said. "They love God or who they think is God. They want to please God." Anderson said she finds a lot in common to talk about, including the Old Testament stories. "I'm convinced that Turkey is a very strategic country for the furthering of the gospel."
Anderson's pearls of faith has dramatically changed two other lives. Her oldest son has moved to Istanbul, where he takes Christian music and drama groups on tour. And a family friend has sold his Christian bookstore and a car-repair business in Muscatine and serves in full-time ministry in Turkey.
The Andersons have formed a nonprofit group called Alabaster Jars. The name refers to the woman in the Bible who cracked open an alabaster jar and poured out its perfume for Jesus. Anderson said that members of her church want to be like alabaster jars, "broken vessels, willing to pour ourselves out at the feet of Jesus, willing to go and obey."
So far, Alabaster Jars is a small operation. It has sent members of Church of the Living Water to Turkey and "wherever those involved feel the Holy Spirit is leading them," Anderson said. There have been trips to Israel, Czech Republic, Norway, Australia, England, China, Thailand, Azerbaijan and Jordan.
Travelers go and do "whatever God leads them to do when they get there," Anderson said. For example, in India a group of church members arrived at an orphanage and ended up buying a bus for it to use, she said. Anderson traveled to Svalbard, Norway, high up into the Arctic Circle, after God gave her a dream about the city, which she then found on a map, she said. There she visited the world's northern most church.
Anderson hopes that Alabaster Jars will receive more contributions so Christians can take additional missions trips, meet people and tell them about Jesus Christ.
"We operate on the premise that small groups of people, or even a single person, can do big things for God and that one-on-one relationships are a biblical form of world evangelism."
Verses for Teaching, Preaching and/or Discussion...Pearls of Faith
NIV Pearls of faith
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.
But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
NAB Pearls of faith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
KJV Pearls of faith
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By pearls of faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Now that you've read Pearls of Faith, you'll enjoy reading my journey of finding the Pearl of Great Price.
Buy natural pearls here.