Eight years ago our family received a child for Christmas. Through World Vision, we sponsored a little girl living in Rwanda. Our commitment involved feeding coins into a kitchen jar to support her and waiting expectantly for her end-of-semester report cards and photo to come in the mail.
At dinner we prayed for her family and discussed what it would be like to receive a report card that commented on the skill of “carrying water” as well as reporting grades. Her last name, Uwimana, means gift of God, and she has been a gift to us we’ve never met.
|Rwanda mission photo courtesy United Methodist Committe on Relief.|
Two years ago, I told my husband over Pad Thai that I wanted to go to Rwanda and see her and asked if he would be willing to come along. After a long swallow, he stared at me through his lawyerly wire frames and said, “We have two kids going to college soon, let’s focus on that.”
Serving the poor can be “a great and enduring work" ... but most of us are called to the small, simple act in our own backyard.
I was disappointed. He didn’t share my enthusiasm for this missionary adventure. “We have connections there and I would be willing to raise money for the trip,” I implored. No response. The idea of exploring a thousand green hills, visiting schools and orphanages and our sponsored child was not capturing his imagination. So I began a dangerous effort to convert him, prayer.
E. M Bounds reminds us that prayer is the way by which kingdom dreams are achieved. “No man can do a great and enduring work for God who is not a man of prayer, and no man can be a man of prayer who does not give much time to praying.”
Serving the poor can be “a great and enduring work,” if you’re Mother Teresa, but most of us are called to the small, simple act in our own backyard, and even that local call is tough to discern without prayer. If we have something in our heart and mind we believe God is calling us to do then we should be willing to spend time with Him and check it out.
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Margaret Philbrick is an author, gardener and teacher who desires to plant seeds in hearts. She is a writing teacher at The Greenhouse School in Wheaton, Ill., an author and a member of the Redbud Writer’s Guild. She just signed a contract for her first novel due to be released in 2014. You can connect with her at margaretphilbrick.com or redbudwritersguild.com. Courtesy of Relevant Magazine www.relevantmagazine.com. The views are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church.