A Tiny Seed

I listened to a sermon the other day in which a minister said we should share our personal experiences of mighty acts (things that happen to us that we believe are the work or Hand of God). A few days ago, I ran across this photo and it reminded me of an experience I had on a business trip to India. One that I think was a Hand-of-God experience. But first let me take you back a few years into my past.

Like so many others, from the time I left high school throughout my working career, I put the Faith I was taught as a child pretty much on hold. A kind way of saying my life was busy with things I thought were more important.  But God, ever patient, never abandoned or gave up on me.

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Missionary Home in New Delhi, India

I was blessed with the opportunity to travel overseas with my work–to Europe, India, and multiple trips to China.  Whenever I traveled to third world countries, I always took gifts for the children. This was true of the trip to India with two of my working colleagues. We arrived in India with stuffed animals, coloring books, watches, toy cars, books, etc.

When we had finished all of our business, we hired a driver to take us to an orphanage where we could leave our gifts.  We arrived at a compound inside the walls of a New Delhi inner city location.  Unbeknownst to us, there had been a communication glitch, or maybe the driver just got lost, but we never made it to the orphanage like we expected.

Instead, we stopped at a Missionary Home full of people terminally ill with tuberculosis and other diseases.  We walked through the open-air buildings with men, women, and children all sick in their beds and volunteers hard at work watching over them.

Not quite sure of where we were or what we had just experienced, we thanked the sister who walked us through the facility, left the toys for the children, and donated the small amount of money we could find on the three of us.  We had also brought along little bars of soap, shampoo, plastic combs, toothpaste and toothbrushes that we had collected from the hotels we stayed in along our journey.  And we left those, too. We never saw the sign posted at the gate (pictured) until our departure.

The next day we left the country.

For years, I felt the trip to India had been a mistake and a disaster. But then five years ago something happened in my life that returned me to my Faith. I’m a new and totally different person. Now I look back and view this trip to India and the stop at the Home for Dying Destitutes as a blessing–a Hand-of-God experience.  Of course, at the time of our journey, I didn’t see it.

Even though I was, at that time, out of fellowship, somewhere in the middle of New Delhi, God planted a tiny seed in my heart that began to slowly germinate and grow. For years, I’ve felt the nudge to help children and the elderly–those who are most vulnerable.  Well, three weeks ago, I finally listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit and began volunteering inside a nursing home for hospice.

Yesterday was my first 11th Hour experience sitting with an elderly woman alone in this world as she passes on to the next one. What a privilege and blessing it was to spend that hallowed time with her.

A tiny seed starting to grow? I truly believe so.

 

 

 

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The Power of Prayer

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24 (NIV)

For months I’ve been searching for an answer to a consistent nagging question. What is it that God is calling me to do? Not that I’m lost or searching for something that seems to be missing. On the contrary, I’m quite happy and very busy enjoying my retirement. My Faith is strong and I’m a work in progress. However, I must admit I sometimes angst over how He wants me to serve.  I wonder, does it have to be large, a difficult choice, or a life-changing event?

Well, on a recent 2-week vacation to Aruba, I discovered something important.

Let me begin with a story. About midway through our trip, I experienced something that dramatically changed my thinking. One evening as I was sitting in the lobby waiting for Ron and his sons to come down for dinner, I noticed the 30 or so people who had just arrived at the hotel standing in line to finish check-in.

At the same time, I was watching a little 2-year-old boy (who reminded me of my soon-to-be 3-year-old grandson). One moment the boy was laughing and playing, the next he was screaming in pain. His father who had just finished checking in and was in line to secure his luggage came running. I could see the panic in his face and that of the boy’s mother, too, as they struggled to comfort their terrified child.

I watched, my eyes tearing over, as I considered how my own son and daughter-in-law would have felt if my grandson were the one experiencing this awful moment. My heart was breaking for this young couple and their injured toddler. Within minutes, the father called for help and an emergency worker arrived to examine the boy. He quickly sent the parents off with their child to the hospital. I felt a deep sadness and helplessness–until something inside me said, “Pray for them.” And I did. I prayed for the little boy, the doctor and staff at the hospital who would soon help them, and for the upset parents.

About 3 hours later that evening I went down to the lobby once again to pick up some milk in the marketplace gift shop. There I saw the parents and the toddler who had just returned from the hospital. The little boy was happily playing and showing no signs of having had any earlier issue. I approached the parents and said, “I am so glad to see that your little boy is okay. I saw what happened in the lobby earlier and my heart went out to both of you. I have a grandson about the same age and I know how terrified my own son and daughter-in-law would have been under the same circumstances.”

I then mentioned to the mother and father that I had said a prayer for them and for their son.

They thanked me and said their son had had a dislocated ligament and the doctor just pulled the arm and the ligament snapped right back into place where it belonged. And everything was fine–just like that.

I left the gift shop feeling wonderful. Then I realized why. We don’t always have to be involved in big, life-changing events to do God’s work. A simple prayer of compassion for someone in need can make a difference.

Please understand, I’m not implying that my prayer made this young boy better–although I do believe the prayers of a believer can contribute to a miracle. What I’m saying is that I now know that prayer for others can be a way of serving, too. And I’m at peace with that!