Faith Never Grows Alone
By Teresa Reardon
A priest once said to me, “You will never grow in your faith alone.” I didn’t really know what he meant until I joined the missionary community of Family Missions Company (FMC). Through community Jesus reached my heart, grew my faith, and changed my life.
Living in a community of people that have a relationship with Jesus you get to hear stories about how God is working in their lives. When I first became a missionary I didn’t see all the ways God was working in my life or think to ask him for help with my day to day needs. But I learned from the missionaries to pray over kids’ cuts, pray for lost things, pray for broken appliances and everything else. As Mr. Frank says, “Our God is a real God, who, does real things for real people, in the real world,” and He wants to provide for our needs. As I saw God answering prayers and hearing glory stories, I started to believe that God could do small and big things in my life too. Since I have become a missionary I have seen and experienced the big and small things God does every day. In missions I have prayed over people for healing and seen God work miracles.
I will never forget the time we visited a very poor family who’s oldest daughter, Joanna, was struggling in school because of her eye sight. She couldn’t see the board and she got headaches when she read. Joanna’s parents had taken her to the doctor before and told them she needed glasses. This family didn’t even have electricity or a bathroom, so they certainly couldn’t afford glasses. I fell in love with Joanna and I wanted to do everything we could to help. We were getting ready to leave Mexico that week, so we told her we would take her the very next day to Saltillo to see an eye doctor. Before we left we prayed with her that God would heal her eye sight. I am ashamed to admit that the prayer was almost an afterthought as we figured out how we were going to make everything in Saltillo happen the next day. We took her and her mom and sibling to the doctors the next day hoping we would be able to find a doctor to fit her for glasses. We took her to three different places before and doctor could see us. Finally we got a doctor to see her and he said nothing was wrong with her eyes, that maybe her eyes were irritated by the dust in the air. I was shocked. God had healed her eyes! We all got in the van and rejoiced at the miracle God had worked. This was the first time I saw God work in such a way. We have an awesome God that gives sight to the blind still today.
I am surrounded by missionary brothers and sisters that encourage me in personal prayer by their commitment to spend time with Him. Living in community we gather together before the start of each work day and pray together. We read God’s Word and share what God is speaking to our hearts. We pray for one another’s intentions. As missionaries we have a commitment to pray every day with Scripture. I am so blessed to see people going in and out of our chapel, rising early or staying up late to make time with Jesus.
One of the many blessings of living in community is that there are always opportunities to serve others. Being a single person I often feel like my world is all about me. During my missionary training Ms. Genie gave us some advice: whenever you are having a bad day go serve someone. There is nothing better than helping a mom with her kids to get your mind off yourself.
On the verge of starting the Year of Faith in the Church I challenge you to seek out Christian community that will help you to grow in your faith and experience the deeper life changing love that God offers us each day.