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God’s in the Restoration Business

With all the enthusiasm of young missionaries, John and Lynn McGhee set out for the Asia-Pacific region in 1978 with little Sarah. A few months later, good friends they had met during the missionary training, Tom and Linda Christensen, set out on their own adventure to Venezuela with little Timmy. Both couples were thrilled to finally be doing what God had put on their hearts—reaching tribal people for Christ.

But after less than one year in Venezuela, 28-year-old Tom Christensen, who had an undetected genetic heart condition, died suddenly in the middle of the night from an aortic aneurysm (ruptured aorta).

Grief-stricken, Linda and little Tim my flew home with Tom’s body. After many months of adjusting from the shock and loss, Linda began serving at the Home Office in Sanford, Florida, typesetting the Ayoré New Testament.

The Ayoré people were the very first tribe NTM missionaries went to reach in Bolivia.

But even as the McGhees’ hearts wrenched for the Christensens, they were facing their own battle. 33-year- old Lynn had been diagnosed with breast cancer. After a valiant two-year fight, she went home to be with the Lord. Stunned and a little lost, John spent some time regrouping and then began serving at the NTM Bible School in England, with little Sarah.

John and Linda each faced the grieving process and sought the Lord’s guidance in their lives.

And He guided unexpectedly.

Since the two couples had been friends, John and Linda continuedto exchange prayer letters. The only personal mail consisted of a little note of encouragement with a poem that Linda had sent to John sometime after Lynn died. When John wrote to thank Linda for it six months later, he suddenly found himself looking forward to hearing back from her. Linda responded and began to anticipate his answer as well. That was the beginning.

Over the next eight months a steady stream of notes, cards, letters, photos and recorded messages—of themselves and their children—virtually flew across the ocean, seeming to shrink the distance with every word. Linda and Timmy loved hearing Sarah’s adorable English accent. John and Sarah loved hearing Linda and Timmy sing together as Linda played the piano. The two little families of two were growing closer together.

Finally, John decided that he needed to move to Florida and see what God might have planned. This was very welcome news to Linda.

But they both wondered the same thing: What will it be like when we see each other?

They needn’t have been concerned. They held hands all the way back from the airport. Even without saying so yet, John and Linda knew they loved each other—and the sweet 5- and 6-year-olds in the backseat.

The two happy duos soon became a family of four and eventually, two more little boys made six.

Now 30 years later, John and Linda McGhee serve together administrating the Medical Plan Office in Florida. Because they know firsthand what it is like to go through a catastrophic illness in the family, they are uniquely qualified to help others going through a medical crisis. They count it a blessing to help fellow missionaries find medical providers, understand NTM’s Medical Plan policy, wade through the forms and process of filing a medical claim, and be a listening ear when health issues seem to be overwhelming a missionary and his family. And their joy is never more complete than when they hear that someone has been restored to health and is returning to their field of service.

God is in the restoration business all around the world. And serving from Florida, so are John and Linda.

POSTED ON Aug 01, 2012 by Debbie Burgett