Team members at the Luanda airport
I am always amazed as I see God at work through His people. In October, FUMC of Homestead heard the call to serve our mission in Quessua, Angola just below the Democratic Republic of Congo. They and others in the UM Conference of Florida responded financially and with loving prayers and encouragement. Sewing machines, beautiful fabrics, precious Huggable Teddy bears, new shoes, adorable children's dresses, reading glasses, shirts for the boys, sheets for the beds the boys had welded, crayons, art materials, rag dolls for little girls, cars for the boys and personal items for the missionaries were generously provided and transported in donated luggage. A delicious fish dinner was lovingly prepared by a men's group, UMW had a fabulous yard sale, UMM had a golf tournament and funds were donated to the Angola mission. Children colored pictures and wrote letters. My heart was overflowing as I saw people joyfully serving God.
The night before our small team was leaving, we received word that a storm had caused severe damage to Quessua and the orphanage we were to put the finishing touches on (Click HERE to see images). Through the planning and preparations for our mission, I heard God speaking to me saying, "Trust me". The members of the small team also heard and they trusted.
Still, I asked myself, "Will we really make a difference or just make ourselves feel good about what we are doing?" Six people and a lot of really good stuff arrived in a country that had been ravaged by horrors of many years of war. "And... I asked, as others had asked of me, "Can we really make a difference?"
|To God be the glory!|
Angolans who love Quessua, told others that we had come all the way from America to help, even after the terrible storm. They told people in the government and they responded. A government team came to meet with us and evaluate the damage. They shared meals with us and decided that if we came all the way from America, they should do more! They agreed to replace the roof on the orphanage and the school and to meet many other needs as well, like providing wells for clean water. They partnered with us...a small Christian mission team. They kindly embraced us and joined the work God had called us to do.
It was not about us making a difference or in the success of the work we did. It was really about us trusting God. "We saw God at work in the lives of people in Angola and in the lives of people on our team".
I am deeply grateful that, when we hear Gods call to go and serve, our conference provides us with opportunities to answer His call as he did with Wayne Slockbower, Edwin Castillo, Debbie McLean, Barbara Schaad Rogers, her husband John Rogers and myself. Note: Barbara is the daughter of Quessua UM missionaries who were serving when the war broke out. She added life to the stories we had heard.
God is calling us! Are we listening? He can use us to do great things. We just need to trust Him and be obedient. If God is speaking to you about serving in missions, please contact Icel Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-727-4279.
Members of First UMC, Homestead, gather to prepare gifts for the children of Quessua.