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When God Says, “Help Me”

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God wants you to do something for Him.” I was 10 years old growing up in Guatemala when a missionary prayed for me and said those words. His comment felt like my Heavenly Father downloaded a sense of purpose and destiny in my mind and my heart. From then on, I knew I needed to do something for God, but I didn’t know what. For 15 years I prayed, “What do You want me to do?”

Then God called me to seminary.

My third year in seminary, (then in Costa Rica) when I was 25, a missionary from India came to speak. He preached from Acts 16 where a man from Macedonia says to Paul, “Come over here. Help us.” As I listened, I felt as though God Himself said to me, “Come over here. Help Me.” I understood then that, yes, God was calling me to serve Him as a missionary. God’s faithful answer to my prayers increased my sense of destiny.

Around this same time, the relationship with my girlfriend was getting serious. I wanted to propose to her, and while reading the book of Ruth, I thought, She needs to say something along the lines of what Ruth said to Naomi for me to propose: “I will follow you wherever you go.” She read the book of Ruth but stated her desire to stay in her country. As difficult as that was, we broke up a few months later, and I continued to follow God’s call on my life.

Then I met Melanie.

When I proposed to my now wife, I said, “If we get married, would you follow me wherever I go to serve God as a missionary?” She said the words that I had hoped to hear and more: “I also have a call to missions, so I’ll follow you wherever you go.”

Sunset in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Stephanie Reindel

God’s call to missions wasn’t only my call but our call. He knew I would need this unity of purpose with my wife to face future challenges to my call to missions. As we prayed, we felt God was leading us to go to Spain.

A year later we moved to the United States knowing our stay there was only temporary. But while living in North Carolina as a married couple, I got comfortable; I liked the lifestyle we had. My sense of purpose got blurred. I thought, I can be a missionary in the U.S.; after all, this is not my country, and I’m already ministering to Spanish speakers here.

We moved to Ohio a year later. Our district superintendent mentioned the possibility of my working among Spanish speakers in the district. Later, when I told Melanie, she said, “I don’t think God is calling us to stay here. We need to leave the U.S.” I understood what she said, but with so much going on in my life, I wasn’t as focused on my call as I was before. God needed to strengthen my resolve.

Then I got sick.

One day, while typing on my computer, I felt pain in one of my fingers. Over the next couple of days, my arms and my back ached too. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I went to the doctor, and he gave me a prescription. I took some medication to manage the pain. But with this physical ailment, I thought I wouldn’t be able to go overseas.

The Chinchillas eat dinner with their two sons, Josiah and Ian. Photo by Stephanie Reindel

During that time God spoke to me. As I prayed, I had a vision where I saw a window open in front of me, and I was walking. Somehow I knew God was telling me, “You’re going to the mission field.” The problem is that I was going with great physical pain. I said, “God, I’ll go, but please don’t send me like this.”

With renewed strength to go to the mission field, we applied to go to Spain. But the door to Spain was closed at that time. So I asked God, “Are You testing my determination to go to the field?” As I read Acts 13, He put on my heart that He was doing something different, that He wanted to affirm my missionary call through His Church.

Paul and Barnabas were sent on the first missionary journey, and the church in Antioch confirmed what they were supposed to do. Since the door to Spain was closed, I invited a group of leaders from my church to pray and fast with us to discern God’s will for us. I gave them a list of countries where we could tentatively go. They encouraged us to go to Germany.

The response troubled me because I anticipated them saying something like, “God’s going to open a door for you to go to Spain,” but that wasn’t the case.

Then I met Tom.

Tom Stebbins, a retired worker from Vietnam, came to our church’s missions conference. I said to him, “Tom, I’m confused. Help me discern what we need to do. We think we need to go to Spain, but the church is affirming us in the direction of Germany.”

Jose Chinchilla leads a worship service for Spanish speakers in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Stephanie Reindel

“Let me tell you a story,” he replied.

“Remember when Jesus prayed in a solitary place? Some people were looking for Him. When they finally found Him, they said, ‘Where have you been?’

“Jesus said, ‘Why?’

“‘Because everybody’s looking for you.’

“‘I’ve been praying. What do you want?’

“‘People want You to feed them; they want You to do miracles, heal people, cast out demons—do Your thing.’

“In that moment, Jesus said to the disciples, ‘I think it’s time for Me to go to the next town.’”

When Tom said that, I knew Melanie and I needed to go to the next town, and I knew that town was in Germany. But I struggled in my heart because I didn’t know what to do about Spain.

I went to the Sunday service after I spoke with Tom, and our pastor of worship ministries said, “I’m going to teach you a new song. It says, Where You go, I’ll go. Whom You love, I’ll love. I will follow You.

As he sang this song, it felt like chains fell off me. I prayed, “If You want us to go to Germany, You have to give me a love for Germans.” I thought, This isn’t going to happen. I can’t love a people just like that.

Then I had another vision.

I saw two huge hands come down from heaven with a package. In my spirit, I heard God say, “You want a love for Germans? Here it is. Take it.” I received the package, and immediately God gave me the love I asked for.

I went to Germany already loving Germans. Not knowing the culture, not knowing any Germans, I had this disposition I didn’t have before—a desire to get to know them, to be with them, and to be friends with them. I went to the field with freedom in my heart, ready to do what God wanted me to do.

We began to work with Germans. In the meantime, God was leading our German partner to start an intercultural church plant in Berlin. A couple of years later, he asked us, “Would you consider bringing Spanish speakers to our church?”

Because I thought God had brought us to Germany to work with Germans, my response was, “I don’t think so.”

“Pray about it,” he said.

So I prayed: “Lord, I came to Germany as You encouraged me through Your Church; what do You want me to do about the invitation to work among Spanish speakers in Berlin?”

I didn’t receive any response from God, so I went back to the pastor, and I said, “I think I’m going to continue working with Germans.”

“Let’s pray together in a different way,” he said.

Then we did a prayer walk.

As we walked around Berlin praying for the city, I heard a lot of people speaking Spanish. My spirit got stirred within me. I felt like God said to me, “I’m giving you back Spain.” That’s how I began working with Spanish speakers in Berlin. I know Germany is where we need to be. God placed us in Berlin for a purpose.

In Acts 17 we read that God has sovereignly established allotted times and boundaries of people’s dwelling places so that they should seek Him, feel their way toward Him, and find Him. Berlin is an intercultural city that hosts thousands of Spanish speakers. God is sovereignly leading them to Germany so that they may have an encounter with Jesus.

We accepted God’s call to “help Him” and along the journey have found ourselves living a life more abundant than we could have ever imagined.

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