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My Log Cabin Calling

My Log Cabin Calling

Why do you do what you do? 

I do what I do because God made it very clear to me that He was calling me to serve Him.
In the spring of 1980, we loaded up our worldly goods and our two babies and moved to a 16x30 log cabin in Casey County, Kentucky. Just getting to the cabin was an experience, driving up steep hills and bumping over rough Kentucky dirt roads. Electricity stopped at the neighbor’s house two miles away, and our “running water” sloshed out of the buckets as we ran from the pump to the cabin. Rain pouring off the roof became our shower. But we loved our homestead and embraced life in rural Kentucky.

Looking for a church to call home, we settled in the small congregation of Atwood Chapel United Methodist. At the end of a revival service message, our young pastor, Dave, stood up. “God is speaking to someone about their gifts or a calling. Please come and pray.” As the congregation stood, Ron headed to the altar. Our friends gathered around to pray. As time passed, they slowly eased away, leaving Ron and I to pray with the pastor and his wife. Wanting to get our small children to bed, we suggested that our prayer continue at our cabin.

With the oil lamps burning, we sensed the burning presence of Almighty God as we earnestly sought Him. After pouring our hearts out in prayer, Dave said, “Do you remember the first time I visited you at this cabin on the hill? Well, I went home and told my wife, ‘I don’t know who those people are or what they are doing up here on this ridge in Kentucky, but God has a call on their lives for missions.’” Ron quickly assured Dave that he was mistaken and that he certainly was not missionary material. Yet, we left that night certain that God had met with us and that He had set us apart for His service.

We sought confirmation of what we had sensed, and it seemed that every time I opened the Bible, I found verses like Luke 10:2 (KJ21): “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.” Later that week, I was so confused and uncertain about what God was truly saying to us that I resorted to a form of Gideon’s fleece. I begged God to confirm to us His working in our lives by giving us a phone call from Ron’s brother, Rich, who was traveling.

Before the era of cell phones, we did not have phone access at the cabin. However, we did receive calls at our neighbors’, Carroll and Candy. The next day when I drove around the ridge to visit Candy, she informed me that Rich had called the night before and would return the call that evening at 6 p.m. Sure enough, Rich called and shared that we were on his mind and he wanted to check in with us. Hallelujah! God answered prayer, revealing Himself to us and assuring us that He was calling us to serve HIM.

Later that winter, Pastor Dave announced that the district was sponsoring a work team to Haiti. Ron was drawn to this opportunity and felt that he should go. In just a few short weeks, each barrier and obstacle was broken down by God’s powerful intervention. As he built a school in the mountains of Haiti, Ron experienced what it could be like to serve God in missions, using his hands or skills.

Ron came back from Haiti saying YES to God. We spent a year seeking the Lord and researching missions organizations and were discouraged that we did not meet any of the requirements. In desperation, Ron cried out to God, “Please reveal Yourself to me. Send someone with a word from You so that I know that You are leading. If not, I guess that I will just stay here.”

The next night at the hospital where Ron worked as a lab tech, he was sitting in his lab waiting for an automated test. A local pastor, whom Ron had met at the hospital, stopped by to chat. Ron shared his struggle and desperation to hear from God. Pastor Lloyd, a big ex-Navy man, pointed his finger at Ron, saying, “God is definitely working in your life, and you had better get yourself in college to prepare for whatever God has for you.” As Ron was dyslexic, that was the last thing he wanted to do. However, he knew that God had answered his prayer and sent someone to him with a definite word from the Lord.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t so sure. I was a country girl at heart. I had come to love Abigail, the milk cow, and Sweetie Pie, an orphaned calf. I didn’t want to say goodbye to our rabbits and chickens. I wanted to take them all with us as we moved to Asbury University (Kentucky) to study.

But God clearly spoke to me one night. I climbed the wooden ladder to our loft bedroom, blew out the last oil lamp, and snuggled in my bed under the peak of the roof. Reading the Bible with a flashlight on my shoulder, I turned to Habakkuk.

In Habakkuk 3:17–19a (NASB) I read, “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, Though the flock be cut off from the fold and there be NO CATTLE IN THE STALLS, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength” [all caps added for emphasis]. God assured me that He was my God and my strength and that my joy did not depend on cattle in the stalls but on HIM.

Why do you do what you do? Is your heart open to do whatever God would ask you to do? Ask Him! You might be surprised what He has in store.

*Editor’s Note: Ron and Bonnie Gouge were appointed as career missionaries with WGM in 1984. They served in Bolivia from 1985 to 2009 before ministering in Argentina from 2009 to 2012. They were appointed as regional directors for South America and Iberia in 2011 and continue to serve in this role.

Action Step

MORE: Take a closer look at Habakkuk 3. Ask God to speak to you through His Word.

The Call (December 2017)

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