I am so thankful that Tina is so very good at keeping you all updated on the work going on here. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about not contributing so here is MY thought for the day:
When Ivan first approached me about going to Nigeria my first response was yes but I am not a compassionate person so I may not be the best fit. He responded with “I think that is why you are the perfect fit.” As time went on and we completed some of our personality profiles it came out that I did have a little compassion I just have no empathy, seriously on a scale of 0 to 100 I scored a 0, of course Tina scored 100. I really understand now how that can be a good thing. Let me explain.
In Gembu Nigeria we are surrounded by Poverty, Sickness, and Death just to name a few things. Every day we have someone come with a need. In just the last few days we have had so many requests for assistance. A church looking for money because a storm took their roof off. A father came looking for assistance to help his daughter who is 16 get some computer training, his concern is that if she does not get some training that she will not be able to continue her education after High School. A private school is raising money to start a scholarship fund for orphans to pay all their school fees. A young man came that is an orphaned and has no money to continue his education at a University, and there is not the availability of “part time” jobs like we have in the US for him to supplement his fees. A 26 year old woman came; her father had 7 wives and did not care for his children well. She got pregnant at 16 and the father of the child told her to terminate the pregnancy. She did not but is struggling with how to support herself and get her 10 year old daughter an education so that she will not end up in the same situation. People come to the clinic every day that are ill and struggle to have the funds to purchase their medication. I could go on but I think that you get the picture. On top of that we are working hard to get the AWANA program going in as many churches as possible. We are trying to distribute food that we have to malnourished children. Again the list goes on.
So we are forced to make choices every day, which one will we help. If feels like some days we are asked to choose to let one child go hungry so that we can “teach another how to fish”. I may have no empathy and little compassion but you cannot live with this every day without wondering if you are making the right choices. So every day we pray that God will give us the wisdom to make good choices, that we will have his heart, to have the ability to say no when we must say no and to know that all is in his hands and that he knows all. We know that we are just the tool that he has chosen to use here. Most importantly we understand that he has everything in his hands and we turn it all over to him knowing he has a bigger purpose, he can see the complete picture.
Tina closes each post with a “thought for you” so I will close with a question a missionary friend that is on her way to Sweden posted on Facebook this week: This is a challenging thought to ponder….can you honestly say… “God have your way with me”
I was sick and you visited Me
Life can get hectic and we can easily forget those that are sick around us. We stop only long enough to tell them we hope they feel better and maybe say a little prayer in passing or thanksgiving for our own health. What a great opportunity we are missing to serve others! Whether we simply take soup to a friend with a cold or sit with someone who is facing a major illness- the opportunity to be a blessing is all around us. Physically, we all get sick from time to time, but many people around us are hurting both spiritually and emotionally. These can be feelings of loneliness, or questions of self- worth. Sometimes, all it takes is an encouraging word to put someone back on track. This week open your eyes the people that are closest to you and see were you can lend an encouraging word or deed!
How time seems to fly around the holidays. It would seem that I have missed a couple of weeks of posting. I can’t give you a specific success story this week but I can tell you that the last couple of weeks I have been more aware of the people around me and have tried to watch for new faces at church and make them feel welcome. It is always amazing to me how easy it is to get into our own little rut and forget to reach out to people we meet each day. We have talked about this in our Saturday men’s group, how easy it is to hit the garage door opener pull into the garage and close the door and never need to deal with our neighbors. Point being touch peoples lives!
I was naked and you clothed Me.
I am not sure about you but I typically do not see a lot of naked people in my daily activities. What I do know is that as Tina and I prepare to sell the house and down size we have hauled countless bags of clothing from our over-stuffed closet to Savers or Goodwill making it once again hard to imagine that there are people that do not have enough. So as you go through your week take a look in your closet and see what there is that is just like new that you really don’t need ad pass it on to someone else, and again if you are in our church look up Ken Dean and see what he can use for winter coats in the ministry that he is involved in. Chose to be aware of this need so that you will be able to bless others when the need arises!
Kind of a tough one, where do we encounter people that are thirsty? Saturday Morning, Tina and I went to Caribou coffee and anonymously purchased coffee for several people. It was great to just watch faces of people as they received their “Free Coffee.”
I was a stranger and you took Me in
They don’t get any easier.
I think that most times when we read this passage we think of the homeless. Homeless World Cup reports that in 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights estimated there are 100 Million homeless people worldwide. They also report, by 2015 there will be 24.4 million in Nigeria alone. The estimated homeless figures in the United States range from 600,000 to 2.5 million. Either way- this is a lot of people that have no place to go.
This week I would like to propose that you look at this a little differently. Look around you for strangersin the places that you go to. How about in church next Sunday? Make them feel welcome and at home. Do you think that this week you can find a stranger and “take them in?”
Humm, No comments, did no one take on this challenge? Each day, 18,000 children die from hunger-related causes.
We took our entire office to Feed my Starving Children (FMSC) this week, we packed almost 10,000 meals in the 2 hours that we were there. In 2012, FMSC passed a milestone: 600 million meals produced over our history.
On to challenge number 2, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink.
The Water Project says that there are 800 million people have no access to safe drinking water. Give a Drop says that 2,000,000 people die each year from water related illness. So those are some really, really big numbers especially when we sit in our homes with such easy access to clean water. I know in our house we have no less than 10 spigots that I could go to and fill a glass and not even think twice about it. That does not take into consideration that we may have bottled water of a few varieties and flavors in our fridge, which in itself boggles my mind, but that is a completely different topic. With all of this so very far away from touching our lives it becomes very hard to grasp how big of an issue this is, how do I begin to understand that 4 people die every minute because they have bad water when I sit here with my fresh brewed cup of coffee with fresh water right out of the faucet?
So this week your challenge is to become involved some way in giving people a drink. This may be a little more challenging to make this a going opportunity. You may want to take this outside of the literal interpretation of this challenge. Our lives are certainly filled with people that are spiritually thirsty. Look for that person that is thirsty for love or encouragement or ??? You have the ability to quench their thirst. So go, and give a drink in Jesus name.