Wow! Yeah! That title got your attention a little bit. Maybe even just enough for you to click on my latest update. Since my last post, it has been a whirlwind of events. To be honest, I don’t even know where to start…so to kick us off here’s what’s been happening over the last two weeks.
We have continued serving in our local community in Pretoria West, serving alongside our local community partners, serving meals to people in need in the local community, packaging food parcels, praying over individuals and families at the soup kitchen at the local church, finishing our paint project, going back to the township (squatter camp) to fold old clothes, and sorting the clothes as they will be donated and used in another ministry we serve with. Most exciting of all, we continually get to share smiles, laughs, and joyous moments with the staff and children at the after school program.
Each day is packed not only with new memories, but more importantly a new face, a new smile, a new name, a new story. As I was riding with our in country missionary, He looked over at me after placing some change in a woman’s cup and he says, “Claire. Her name is Claire. You see now that we know her name, we now know there is a story.”
From listening to one of the school’s administrators tell me about how it took him 10 years to earn his degree and how he would have never pictured this path for his life, or hearing a child’s story about how he is starting to struggle in school because he is at the age where he is realizing the other kids have a mom and he doesn’t, each story leaves a mark on my heart that I will carry.
For example, that little boy who has trouble in school was in a major car accident with him mom when he was younger. His mother didn’t make it, and the boy was in ICU not expected to make it, but now he runs around the playground, he smiles, his laugh is contagious, and he is a little boy that will forever hold a piece of my heart.
Another little girl who is probably only 3 years old and doesn’t speak any English came to me sobbing. I struggled as I couldn’t hold her or pick her up due to covid regulations, but as we sat, and as she calmed down…we began to play a mimicking game with our hands. When I moved, she moved, what I did, she did. Although we couldn’t understand one another, the smile that grew on her face, grew one on mine as I saw her face light up. The next time I got to see her, I began to speak to her with my very broken Afrikaans. Her face lit up like never before as she understood the words coming out of my mouth, and with little I knew, we played, “catch,” until we had to go (that was the only word in English she would say to me).
It’s easy to think of these passing moments as insignificant.
“It’s just playing with a couple kids at school…”
“It’s just painting a door yellow 10 times because the paint was to thin…”
“It’s just handing out a meal to someone in need…”
“You can do that anywhere, in any community.”
…and you’re totally right. Just as there is a need in South Africa, there is the same need all around the world, but here’s where my challenge to you comes in…how many of you know the names of those you have helped serve and how many of you know their stories?
You see when you put a name to the face, there’s a kingdom shift.
So many times we get missions or serving others wrong because we focus on what we do more than who we are.
But we are Human Beings, not Human Doings. God designed us for relationship not for completed tasks.
We say it this way, “Go and Disciple the nations and if needed use words.” In other words…listening is serving with our ears. When we are slow to speak and quick to listen we allow others to feel heard, to feel valued, and we show them that they are of worth to us. We give them a sense of dignity that they matter to someone, and that we care about who they are and not what they do or what they have done.
Its showing others that we care so much that we are willing to walk the extra mile and paint a door 100 times if it means that it will look perfect for them, because of how we want to honor and respect who they are and what they mean to us.
I won’t lie to you these last few weeks posed quite the challenge for me especially this week as I find myself once again in quarantine, symptomatic, but negative. It’s been hard. God has pushed me further than I ever thought and at some points, I literally just looked up with tears in my eyes and wondered…Why Me? Why would you bring me through all of this, just to be sick once again?
Why did you chose me? What’s the purpose? What’s the bigger picture that I am not seeing?
It’s Insignificant!….but then again….it’s not.
Each moment, each minute, each second…every time we are able to set ourselves aside just for a moment, for the sake of others, to be there for them, to speak life into them, to build relationship with them, and help them to see themselves as God sees them…that’s the significance. These are the moments that in a second can change someone’s history for the glory of God.
A dear friend shared this verse with me:
1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
“Like puzzling reflections in a mirror…but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”
Sometime’s life can feel like we’re looking at a 1000 piece puzzle. It doesn’t make sense, we don’t see the bigger picture, and the pieces of the picture we do have seem insignificant as we can’t see how they are supposed to fit together.
But even the piece we think is the tiniest and most insignificant piece of the puzzle, is what makes the picture whole, and brings it all together.
We may not see the whole picture or significance of what we do in the here and now…but man if we were to allow God to put the pieces together, to lean into His call on our lives, and trust Him with every moment…could you imagine what the final picture would look like?
It would be far from Insignificant.
It would be miraculous…a divine tapestry of all the good, all the bad, and all the in between.
Until the Next Adventure,