It's been more than two weeks since I asked for your prayers as we prepared to share about the Anslay Church of God Child Survival Program at Apex Community Church,and we have yet to get over the overwhelming response that God provided!
More than 20 people made the commitment over that weekend to sponsor the CSP and help provide for the mental, physical, and spiritual needs of mothers and babies in Tanzania! That number continues to grow and we remain so overwhelmed at God's amazing provision.
As our opportunities have increased, so has the blessing of meeting with others in the Body of Christ and hearing their own stories of God's work. Some have felt burdened to feed and clothe the poor in Haiti, while others are answering the call to put shoes on the feet and a Bible in the hands of our city's neediest school children. Another owns a budding restaurant and catering business, and he is committed to donating a portion of his work and resources to help raise funds for missions efforts around the world. It is an amazing thing to witness the power of Christ as he uses His redeemed to carry the gospel to the lost.
Some of the most special encounters have come from those who aren't even able to afford a sponsorship at all. A few weeks ago a woman and her husband came up to the Compassion table in the lobby and handed me the money she had in her purse. "I hope you can use this," she said. "I'm afraid it's all I can give."
I assured her that is was more than enough in God's hands, and thanked her for her willingness to share in the ministry. As a way of saying thanks, I handed her a copy of Dr. Wess Stafford's (the President and CEO of Compassion International) book titled, Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most. In this amazing book, Dr. Stafford explains that " children are too important and too intensely loved by God to be left behind or
left to chance," and that there is no time to lose as the church must heed God's call to invest in the saving of their lives and souls. This story is that much more poignant since he shares his own experience of growing up as the child of missionaries in West Africa, where he endured terrible abuse at the hands of boarding school leaders who were supposed to be caring for him.
Well, a couple weeks after I'd given the book to the woman, I saw her again and she walked straight towards me. She started to speak, but her voice immediately caught as tears quickly filled in her eyes. "Is everything ok?" I asked. She nodded and was finally able to speak.
"When you handed me that book, I started reading, thinking I was going to learn more about Compassion's ministry. I didn't expect....you see, I grew up being abused, and reading about his experiences opened up all those old wounds."
I was dumbfounded and the air around me seemed to grow still. By God's grace, however, this was not the end of her story.
"I just wanted you to know that if it hadn't been for this story, then I don't know if I ever would've come to a place where God would allow me to forgive the people who hurt me. God has used it to change me and break me free from all of my bitterness. I am so thankful."
This was an amazing and unexpected encounter, but that's just what our God does isn't it? Jesus is still on His throne and is still seeking, saving, and healing his children both young and old all over the world. It is, as it always has been, His work and His doing. Righteousness and redemption cannot be claimed by any man or woman apart from Him and His truly amazing grace!
I am so thankful for His work that continues to be done both here and abroad, and would ask for your prayers as He opens doors of opportunity to share even more. Since I've shared a little about Dr. Stafford's book, I'd also like to offer an opportunity for you to receive your own copy just by becoming a sponsor of the Anslay CSP.
To get a book, simply click here to go the Compassion website and walk through the simple and secure steps to become a sponsor. Afterwards, send us a quick e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you've become a sponsor and we'll send you a book. It's that simple! You'll be saving the lives of families in Tanzania while enriching your own walk in the process.
Thanks for your continued prayers and gifts! God bless!
Jeff and Julie