My name is Alison Atwood. My husband, Nathan, and I have been serving as missionaries full-time in Central America for the past seven years. We have 2 biological children, Ethan (14) and Bethany (9), as well as in the process of adopting our precious Honduran children, Camila (3) and Gabriel (3). We are serving as team leaders of our Honduras team with Go To Nations by training, mentoring and apprenticing missionaries. We are also discipling, conducting Bible and ministry training, evangelism, orphan care and medical work among the Honduran people. Our hearts are to see the hope and love of Christ lived out in our lives and embedded into the hearts of those we serve.
Over the years God has spoken many things to my heart. Some of those have been uncomfortable, most stretching, but always needed. However, reflecting back on the greatest of truths that I have gleaned from through our trials and tribulations, the one that stands out the most is definitely the goodness of our Father. I have never been more reminded of the goodness, love and faithfulness of our God and Savior until last month when my dad went to be with Jesus.
My dad was a kind, caring, smart, and very logical man, who made no big deal of the fact that he was never quite sure how God fit into the equation, or how he did either. He liked that I was following my dreams to become a missionary and serve the Lord; however, that personal relationship, intimacy thing, never really quite made sense to him. My husband and I were radically saved at the same church service three weeks after being married and for the past 16 years have been blessed with the privilege of interceding for lost family members, like my dad. Believing for their salvation and that they would come into contact with their destiny in Christ and His overwhelming love for them.
I got to see those prayers answered in a hospital room in North Carolina. While coming home for a short one-week visit, that I had planned months in advance, my dad was being taken by ambulance into the hospital. I was called by family the next morning to come see my dad, who was on life support. He had actually died for 15 minutes, and God in His graciousness, chose for him to stay. For one week more, almost to the hour, my dad lived on this earth. I was able to be by his side every day, pray and declare God’s Word over him, and even talk briefly to him. He spoke to my mom, sister and me the day before he died and told us he loved us, but most importantly I could see he had an encounter with God. The tears that ran down his face, when he was too weak to talk, said a million words. He had that intimate encounter that he never understood before and was ready to live that intimacy every day for eternity. Only our God would have so intricately orchestrated not only my dad’s life, but mine, in such a way that He would usher one more of His children lovingly into His arms and answer 16 years of prayers. Why? Because He is a good God, faithful to His promises.
I love the verses in Exodus 34 where God is caught describing Himself. He could say a million wonderful things about himself and it would not accurately portray the greatness and vastness of our God, but He says He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, and forgiving. He talks of His most precious attributes, which make up His goodness. It is His desire that we grow in our identity as sons and daughters. We can never do that if we don’t understand the character of the One that we are reflecting. It is not an easy task, and I dare say it is a process, but one worth embracing.
Although it is never easy to deal with loss, and there are many kinds of loss, we can always look to the hope that we have in Christ and be assured that His goodness is as unchanging as He is. He was faithful to His word and His promise, and I stood on that, and will eternally have a relationship with my dad. Most importantly he is connected with the One who created him and loves him with an eternal love. When we choose to see God’s goodness in the middle of loss, grief, depression, anger or whatever hardship life is bringing us, then we position ourselves to receive true insight, revelation and healing from our Father.
Lord, I pray that my testimony of Your goodness brings healing to the soul and that we are all reminded of Your goodness and love for us. Thank you that there is nothing that we can do or say that can separate us from Your love. We continue to stand in righteousness and serve you with a deep yearning to please you, but an even deeper yearning to know You in a more intimate way, and know truly who we are in You. Thank you, Father, for your infinite love and how You so intricately care for each of Your children. You are so good. Amen.
Click here to visit Nathan and Alison's page on GoTo Nations!
I highly recommend reading more about their work, as well as donating to their ministry. You can also sign up as a monthly sponsor for their missionary work in Central America.