Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Long Work In The Right Direction

Jennifer and her family attend one of our Africa Gospel Churches. We have grown to love them so much. We know their favorite foods. We know what makes them laugh. We know what makes them cry.  The poverty, suffering and struggle that this family endures on a daily basis has changed me in a profound way. I count it an honor to know them. Jennifer is the one I wrote about a few months go. After visiting her she rededicated her life to Christ. The following Sunday testified about our time together calling it 'the action gospel' and four women confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their Savior. 

Every few weeks I go visit Jennifer and her children. One day last month with a trunk full of nutritious food and smiles on our faces we arrived at her house. We anticipated another routine visit with playing, giggling, talking and praying. When we arrived we found the oldest son (aged 12 years old) in severe pain. For over 10 days he had been suffering with a horrible leg injury. His foot was doubled in size with infection and his shin bone was exposed. His mother had no phone to call for help. She did not have financial capabilities to get her son medical treatment. We found her wandering around the village asking neighbors for help. "No one had a single coin to offer. This community is very poor. So they have been praying. Perhaps God answered their prayers through you all coming today", her pastor said. 

Some good friends and I immediately took James to the hospital to get treatment. Our kids  showered James with love by making him home-made cards, visiting him and praying for him daily. James spent 11 days at the hosptial, had 2 surgeries, devoured 33 nutritious meals, watched loads of television, enjoyed heaps of candy, received countless prayers and a whole lot of love.

The day that he was supposed to be released from the hospital our friends and I got the final bill. In order for him to go home, the bill needed to be paid.  We were overwhelmed by the total. I hopped on a boda- boda (motorcycle) and went home to tell Nathan how much the balance was. Sophie was in her bedroom and overheard us discussing that we didn't have the money on hand to pay for it. She came into the kitchen where we were talking and handed me a card filled with cash.
Here's her story....

Sophie was sharing her 'miracle story' with a family friend in America. That friend asked Sophie to make a video for the kids she teaches in children's church. The video was too cute to keep to ourselves! We hope you enjoyed it. We were overwhelmed by Sophie's ending statements to her peers to "give people the best you have". We love our Sophie girl and are so proud of her! 

This week we visited James to see how his foot is healing. We were absolutely delighted when he ran to greet us when we arrived...

Just two weeks ago he was struggling to walk. We praise God that he is recovering well! Here's a few praises about how God is providing for this family:
 1. Jennifer has a new job in the tea fields. Yay God! 2. She was able to buy 4 goats with her new income. Hooray for nutritious milk! 3. The community has rallied around this family in many ways; including building them a new outdoor toilet. So awesome! 

Ministry is a long work in the right direction.  We almost never know what tomorrow brings.  We almost never know what will work and what won't.  We are constantly surprised.  Ministry isn't a science.  Everyone picks a model, some stand firmly behind theirs and probably for good reason.  However, ministry has many unpredictable outcomes because it's not about us.  God works through us to do these things in the lives of those He has called us to.  We cannot calculate or mandate any work of God.  Instead, we put our noses down, roll our sleeves up and brace for a long work in the right direction.  Whatever happens next is glory.

Thank you for your continued prayers for this precious family. We love you all! 

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