by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2012
Standing in the middle of the one-room dwelling and glancing around at the exposed adobe brick walls, dirt floors, open fire stove, I concluded this scheduled home visit was typical of others I had experienced. Or was it?
Through the interpreter the Guatemalan woman shared her life story with our mission team. She was the head of the household caring for her sister (abandoned by her husband), her sister’s two children and her adult mentally disabled brother who was both mute and deaf. As she spoke about her great financial need, my thoughts started to wander until I heard her recount her plea to God for help. At that moment, I felt a great swelling in my spirit. One of the team members handed her a small monetary offering that had been collected from our group months previously. I began to explain that as she was crying out to God from her home, He had heard her and spoke to us many miles away. In actuality, the money was not from us but from God himself. “To this John [the Baptist] replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’”’ (John 3:27-28 NIV)
In that moment I felt the overwhelming presence of the Lord in the room. “…so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” (Matthew 24:33 NASB) Miguel, our interpreter and a mature Christian, began to convey the plan of salvation to the woman and her family. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV) Sadly, they choose not to open their hearts to Him this day. Though our team may never see them again, I know God will continue to visit them and knock on their respective door. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (John 6:44a NKJV)
Am I disappointed? Yes, but not discouraged. I was obedient with the responsibility God had given me. “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” (John 3:29 NIV) “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
(I Corinthians 15:58 NIV)
KESHER TIP (connection): Do No Harm!
Always check with your missionary hosts about their policy for giving money to nationals. Some missionaries would prefer that you do not to give money directly to individuals in order to avoid the dependency syndrome, which might jeopardize their long-term ministry. Instead they will ask you to give to their organization and to allow them to distribute the finances at their discretion. Other hosts may allow you to share small amounts with families for special needs because they have implemented effective systems for follow up after your departure. While generosity and compassion are wonderful things, wisdom should also be used when reaching for your wallet.