All my thoughts culminated in me screaming at God, “Why do you let this happen? Especially to those who love you! Do you even exist? If you do, YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!” Then I heard it. The whisper of the Lord. And he said, “I did do something…I sent YOU!” Even as I write those words, my heart stirs in a way that it never did before, in all my years of missions. I prayed for God to comfort these people, to help them move forward after tragedy, to have food to eat, that they will not feel alone, that their needs can be met.
At Easter we are reminded that resurrection is possible everyday. Everyday we fail. I argue with my wife or am yelling at my children. And I’m like, “Lord, why do I constantly fail under these patterns of sin?” He’s there to encourage us and pick us up, to give us that second, third, fourth, fifth, or five-hundredth chance that we need.
Only five months after our family’s arrival at our new post, we found ourselves in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, locked away from those we were sent to serve. Jesus, being who He is, still led us to the poorest of the poor. He opened so many closed doors—both literally and figuratively—for new ministries to flourish, despite the repercussions of the virus.
Yes, our passports are itching to be stamped—they haven’t been opened for over a year now! I dream of being on one of the hundreds of flights that pass over my head every day, or of going out and finding a local homeless person just to be able to say I talked to a stranger. But this is my personal sacrifice, one that the Lord has placed on me.
When I sat down next to one of the men somebody sneered, “Don’t give him any money. He’ll just use it for drugs!” My heart sank. All these people were just in church professing their love for Jesus, who of course loves the poor. All these people call themselves Christians, and claim to follow Christ…and yet….
If I were to be honest, I would have to admit that sometimes it is very hard to walk, as Simon of Cyrene did, carrying someone else’s burden so that they can move forward. He did not even want to help! I admit I have felt that too! However, in the end I know that this cross is the path to salvation, and not just for me, but others as well.
Here, more than a single soul has been reached for less than every possible suffering! For the low, low price of $48,583.53 and a dozen years of school and work and sacrifice, the KINGDOM OF GOD IS IN PROGRESS. Through just ONE part of the job the Lord gave me—sometimes done poorly, even complaining-ly, often winging it, and very often realizing how the Lord played a long game in preparing me for the position—I contributed to the building of the Kingdom of God. I participated in the Great Commission.
I thank God for moving in the hearts of our team members who rejected the lie that during this time of quarantine they can’t do anything to help others. I thank God for inspiring us to coordinate the Christmas Rosary Giveaway event and also for our amazing missionary friends who were willing to help make this day such a success.
Then it struck me: these little piglets, cute as they were, had been bred for slaughter. And, like them, the adorable Child whose birth we were preparing to celebrate would ultimately be slaughtered. He was born into privation, and within days His life was at risk and He and His family were refugees.
The kids lined up right away for the gift, and of course the parents let them have it because, let’s face it, how could they say no to a beautiful gift? It felt awesome. It’s hard to describe the joy of being able to share the message of Jesus’ saving love to these kids who have quite simply never heard it before.