'Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin' (Zechariah 4:10).
God loves small beginnings. Our Lord loves to take something small and make it great. It gives him an opportunity to flex his muscles and demonstrate his God-ness.
This truth was driven home to recently when Jean and two of our daughters joined me on a trip to Ukraine. We took a day and retraced our steps on the first day of our very first mission to Ukraine in May 1990.
The Dniester Hotel retains its Soviet-era charm
We arrived in L'viv on a Monday night, staying at the Dniester hotel. We had plans to leave L'viv on Thursday morning. In between, we had two days. But there was a problem.
On Tuesday morning, after breakfast, we met in the lobby of the hotel with our team leader, Dean Simpson, who said, 'Well, have have no contacts in this city and no plans, so let's just break up into groups and go out into the city and see what happens'.
Now, being a person who likes a plan I was immediately thrust into a bad mood: if we only had a plan, things could have been OK. I had no idea that I was preparing to walk out the doors of that hotel lobby into the greatest adventure of my life.
Walking down through a park we met English-speaking students on the steps of the Univeristy of Ivano Franko; later in the day they contacted a professor who organised an opportunity for me to speak to over 100 students in the English department. The professor and several students gave their life to Christ.
Tom and Jean at the entrance to the University of Ivano Franko, L'viv
From these very small beginnings we planted a church in L'viv, and then Ternopil, and from Ternopil to Novodnistrovsk and Buchach and other cities. Now, we are planting Russian-speaking churches across Europe from the Ukrainian diaspora through contacts in Ternopil.
The lesson is clear: do not despise the days of small beginnings. You never can tell what God can do with one act of faithfulness.