I spend most of my daytime at work so when stuff goes on there, it affects me personally. I’m sure that’s true for you too – none of us can totally separate each part of our life. Sometimes, our work life flows into our home life and the other way around. We’re human.
So, back to the big fat changes in my life. We have completely overhauled Helping Hands In Africa. We have a new name, a new logo and a new brand. I love it. It’s taken a lot of prayer, creativity and hard work but in the end worth it.
Take a look and let me know what you think. Click to comment.
My children are adults now and live in their own homes. Whenever possible I love to get my family over to my house for Sunday Lunch. One Sunday afternoon my daughter, Sam, was asked to thank the Lord for our meal. “Thank you for roast chicken and gravy, Amen” she said. It was not quite the traditional prayer so we giggled but all said a hearty AMEN.
I remembered this little incident this week while I was walking through Madutle village. This is a new village to me. Helping Hands has just recently started to serve here.
It is July – midwinter in South Africa. A fierce cold has turned the landscape a dull, dry dusky color. As I stood in the village an icy wind sliced through the layers of my clothing and my feet refused to warm up. I looked around me and I noticed how many children were scantily dressed, some with bare feet. My heart choked up. I reminded myself that we have only just started our work here and that soon we will identify who needs warm clothes and provide as best we can. This reasoning does not really ease the hurt I feel that children should go cold … and hungry … and parentless.
It was in this stark, cold village that I remembered my daughter’s prayer – oh, how we should truly and sincerely be grateful for roast chicken and gravy.
I love John Denver music. I know this admission (or is it a confession?) dates me and probably makes me dorky in some people’s eyes. That’s okay. I still like John Denver music. I love the tone of his voice, I love his guitar playing and I love his songs. What can I say? I’m a fan and this past Sunday I heard John Denver sing at church.
Now, I know he did not fake his death and I know he is not holing out here in Africa living a secret life. I am aware that he was tragically killed in an accident and I mourn his passing. However, as I stood in church listening to the worship leader sing, I heard John Denver. He had the same tone, the same way of carrying a melody, the same lilt to his voice. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him sing and I was extremely grateful to this worship leader for volunteering his time and offering his gift to serve in an obscure church on the point of Africa. As I listened I thought about the many people all over the world who offer their talent and their abilities to their respective churches. In that moment last Sunday, I was truly grateful for this.
There are many talented people whose only audience is their church congregation. How sad that we have a tendency to think that only the famous are truly gifted or truly talented. Yet thousands of people faithfully serve in their church, giving of themselves, not realizing how immensely talented they are or how deeply they touch the lives of those around them.
When we simply serve, with no thought to fame or fortune, I believe amazing things take place.
It was one of those days that started fast and just kept on speeding up as the day wore on. I had not eaten all day. I usually don’t eat breakfast and I meant to make time for lunch but it simply didn’t happen. Later that night I found myself facing a tray of airline food as I flew 10,000 meters above sea level. I opened the container of salad in front of me, picked up the little packet of salad dressing and searched the corner for the perforated spot to tear open the packet. I pulled, pushed, poked and even tried popping it open. Nothing. The plastic packet stayed intact and the dressing inside remained inside. I then surveyed the tray in front of me to see what tool I could use. A plastic knife – I sawed away to no avail. The plastic fork – one of the prongs broke in the attempt. I tried my teeth but I had a long flight ahead and did not want to make the journey with a toothache so I gave up. I ended up eating my salad without dressing. What I wouldn’t have done for a pair of scissors aboard that plane! This silly little incident got me thinking about how we are all gifted by God for a particular purpose.
When God has a job to be done, He has someone in mind that fits the bill perfectly. Just like a pair of scissors is exactly what I needed for that stubborn packet of salad dressing, so God has a perfect instrument that will get each job done.
If this is true, how do we recognize those moments when we can become useful instruments in God’s service?
A few years ago I came across the writings of a Rabbi named Abraham Heschel. I would like to share a piece from the book I asked for Wonder that truly inspired me. It is entitled Dreaming for God.
Prayer is frequently an inner vision, an intense dreaming for God – the reflection of the Divine intentions in the soul of man. We anticipate the fulfillment of the hope shared by both God and man. To pray is to dream in league with God, to envision His holy visions.
This little piece of writing spoke to my heart in a deep and encouraging way. I have spent many, many hours before God in prayer on behalf of the vulnerable of Africa. During these times of prayer I often found myself shifting from “asking” mode into “visioning” mode.
The bible has more to say about money than any other subject. This intrigues me. Why does God want to mess with my money?
I believe God peeks over my shoulder when I’m doing my budget. This is why:
- How I use my money has direct impact on the person I am now and the person I will be in the future.
- What I do with my money impacts the lives of my family, friends, neighbors and the world I live in.
My money has impact so God meddles.
In last week’s post, I addressed the issue of God connecting us to each other in order to fulfill His purposes. This week I want to expand on the idea of doing ministry together and zone in on one part of that ministry – our ‘giving’.
It would seem that once we have settled in our heart that as Christ followers, giving of our resources should be a way of life, many of us struggle with the question, “Who do we give to?”
This question, at surface level, seems easy to answer. However, if we want our giving to be significant and have lasting impact we need to dig deeper.
I was thoroughly enjoying a lazy Sunday morning in bed. My husband was reading the paper and laughing out loud at an editorial comment. I sat in bed sipping my coffee and doing what I enjoy most – being contemplative and allowing my mind to wonder here, there and everywhere. That’s when it hit me.
I am going through some pretty big transitions in my life.
We’ve all heard the cliché, “The only thing that is constant is change”. This is true but, actually, there have been times in my life when not too much has changed for long periods. I have mostly enjoyed those times, finding comfort in the predictable. But, as the saying goes, change always comes.