My two small nieces asked their mother this question while making name tags to personalize packages of new shoes for a new group of orphans ZoeForKids “adopted” this year. Each of the 163 orphans from Maboloka, South Africa got a new pair of shoes—in their correct size, with a beautiful name tag colored by the little hands of these wee missionaries… While coloring, they offered up big prayers along with their mother, as they gathered around their kitchen table in Illinois. Is this missionary work? You bet!!!!
Every time we allow the love of God to flow through us, and bless someone else… we are doing missionary work. Whether it be at home, in the office, in school or church… shopping or stuck in traffic—we have the opportunity to do missionary work. Whether it be a small prayer or a kind word… giving up our place in line… or patiently listening to a long-winded stranger—we are doing missionary work. The key to allowing the love of God to flow through us IS DENYING SELF… what Paul called the ‘flesh’ (Gal 5:16-25)… in order to build up or bless another person.
Though some would call it ‘sacrifice’… I hate to use that word!!! I really don’t think denying our natural tendencies is a sacrifice to God… NO!… it is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). If you always get back more than you give up, have you really sacrificed at all? Simply put, our eternal reward ALWAYS outweighs our temporal ‘sacrifice’. And isn’t that why we are here? We are not here to build our personal kingdom—but, we are here to prepare the way for Jesus’ Kingdom… THAT is true missionary work.
In October, we took our first ZoeForKids “team trip” to South Africa to minister to our Majakaneng orphans… serve our newest group of orphans in Maboloka… to hold a youth event for the teens of Flames Christian Church… AND, last but not least, to minister to the Gogo’s and that church family.
I have to admit there had been long months of planning, raising funds, and fasting prior to our leaving! I am ashamed to say it, but… I was so nervous about this! If things didn’t go right… it could have been a disaster! I am doubling my shame to say, I worried a lot. Praise God, my worrying was in vain. God had a plan… it wasn’t exactly the same as mine… it was BETTER!! He fulfilled His plan in a far grander way than I could have possibly ever dreamed.
300 of our kids from Majakaneng excitedly gathered in the Flames Christian tent for an all day Christmas event that included… lessons about Jesus, music, dancing, team building games, a huge meal (prepared by the Gogo’s) and the presentation of the Wildlife Bible StoryTellers and cards … FROM YOU, their best friends and supporters!!
The event started on a more somber note than the usual. Just a week earlier, we had lost 3 of our kids in auto crash caused by a drunk driver… making a total of 6 KIDS LOST in less than 3 months time! Our children in this crash had burned to death. At the funeral, before our arrival, the principle told me that our kids refused to.. or, more accurately stated… COULD NOT sing. I know this much… for an African child not to sing… you know they were dealing with some serious heart pain!
I am happy to tell you by day’s end… in our little tent covered by the prayers of the Gogo’s and prayers from all of you, we had our kids back to singing, laughing and dancing with joy radiating from their faces that could have only been placed there by Jesus!! Jesus had started a great healing inside our tent that day… and we were invited to be in the middle of it!
I believe if this was all that we did that week, it would have been more than enough!! But, as hard as it might be to top a day like this… our gracious God did! The next event we had was for the youth of all the churches in each zone of the Flames Christian Family. Each youth was encouraged to bring someone new. We had over 250 youth—50+ new faces!!
The topic of the day was … ALL IN!
Are you ALL IN? And, if you aren’t… what is keeping you from being ALL IN? It was the question of the day!
Message after message from each team member concentrated on being ALL IN! Each topic linked to the … next by no coincidence or chance! We had “planned” to coordinate the messages… BUT, trust me, God worked it out so that it was BEYOND beautiful!
The youth listened, took notes…were given new bibles, THEN came a big pouring out of God’s Spirit!!!!! I stood in awe… by the last message, 30 new youth had raised their hands and surrendered their lives to Jesus. THEY BECAME– ALL IN!
There was joy in heaven as these souls came Home!!!! I can just imagine that the joyful shouts and singing in heaven was so loud that its earthly echo shook loose every binding chain of Satan for miles!
This day ended with worship and sports at the park! …. Not to mention, a huge meal! I didn’t think my smile could get any bigger! I didn’t check it in the mirror but I am sure it was so broad, it could be seen in South Africa and the USA at the same time. I am soooo extremely grateful… I know your prayers had formed this day into being!
Our next event was the Gogo event! On Sunday, we gathered all the churches together. The Gogo’s stayed inside the church of Maboloka and the children, men and boys went outside for some teachings under the trees! The men of our team: Rich, Kurt and Patrick had outdoor services for the men and boys… Sara had the service for the children and Sharon and I had the service for the Gogo’s. It was incredible! I wanted to be in all three places!
The Gogo’s were overjoyed with a service to honor them! They each received a little coin purse—handmade, with a few pieces of treasured SA Rand inside. The lesson was about treasure of heaven—them! They were also given their very own copy of a very special poem written for them by Pastor Brad Hering of River of Life Community Church in the state of Washington! To fully describe the joy, you will have to watch the videos—the Youtube links are at the end of this newsletter! It will SHOW you the joy better than I ever could describe it!!
The day ended with fellowship, a meal and of course, bigger smiles that stretched into the next day!
God had lined up so many blessings—I was feeling guiltier by the minute for ever having a worry! Following God’s lead is so much more exciting when you give Him the worries and through faith… step yourself out of the pilot’s seat. It always turns out best when you switch your prayer from— “Lord, bless our plans”… to… “Lord, show us how to support Your plans!”
The next event was for a new group of orphans in Maboloka who we were introduced to last May. The principal of the school had come and asked for us to help his kids and bless them with shoes. We stepped out in faith, and asked for your support to supply these orphans with “Christmas Shoes” in addition to the funding we needed for the 300 Wildlife Bible Storytellers for Majakaneng… and YOU RESPONDED IN LOVE!!!! We had a shoe needs list by gender and size… and YOU RESPONDED IN LOVE!!!! New shoes in the exact sizes poured in through the summer. THEN the ZoeForKids supporters told us it was important that we share Jesus through the Wildlife Bible Storytellers with the children of Maboloka. So we told you we needed to fund another 163 StoryTellers… and YOU RESPONDED IN LOVE!!!! Have I mentioned how much I love each and every one of you??? I DO!!!!
So we gathered in the Maboloka church. These precious orphans were brought in by bus for an event like we just had with our Majakaneng orphans! As an added surprise, we invited “Yeates”, our guest cheetah, to come for a visit that included a line of pats from the kids… and a few adults… with great trepidation!!! Again, the joy of this event is best described and seen in the YouTube link at the end of this newsletter!
The kids had a full day of activity, they enjoyed a meal… and every pair of shoes with their ‘personalized-in-Illinois’ name tags—FIT! I felt I was watching the hand of God… I came away in the deepest of gratitude. … Never in my history had I ever planned an event where we had the exact amount, the exact sizes and the perfect ‘fit’ for every child. Never.
The last two days we spent at schools in Maboloka and Majakaneng. We participated in the ongoing ZoeForKids sponsored daily feeding program in Majakaneng! We played games in the school yards, prayed at the flag poles, taught in big school assemblies and classes…
However, I received the biggest blessing in Majakaneng!
In some of our kids’ pockets… I saw that they were carrying their Bible StoryTeller audio players! They were eagerly listening to the stories… some out loud… and some with their ear buds! If I EVER had a question about the worth of this big project… the answer was there, right before my eyes! The Word was sprouting in these young, precious hearts!
God answered my question… His Word NEVER returns void—ever!!
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
To those of you who gave—God multiplied, and CONTINUES to multiply your gift, exponentially! When we gather before His Throne, perhaps then, we will know the true value and impact of the seeds we have planted and watered… seeds of life!!!
During the final days of our trip, we visited the homes of the families who lost children in the car accident, and praying for each one of them. We then visited many home-bound families from the Flames Christian Church. With each home visit, we prayed… and encouraged… and saw God’s healing hand.
I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to just go where He leads!! Life is never boring when you are following His lead. I desire to tell you that I will never worry and stress about ZoeForKids plans ever again… but, being me and fully human, that probably will never happen. However, I do promise you this… after seeing God’s Hand at work in this trip…I will worry, a lot less. (smile)
Is making name tags at a comfortable kitchen table in the USA missionary work? Indeed, it is! Look how far those name tags traveled! Look how far those offered prayers, flew!
What’s in your hand? I believe this is the question He asks each one of us! What is in your hand? We can hang onto it and see what we can do. Or, we can hand it over to Him, and see what God can do… beyond what we could ever hope or dream. That is our choice.
I do have a thought to share with you, though… (of course)
Whatever gifts you are blessed with…
Whatever plan God has placed in your heart…
Whatever God-inspired kind deed or thought…
Whatever resource given for you to use
WHAT YOU DON’T SHARE IS AN OPPORTUNITY LOST FOREVER!!!
What you place into the hands of the living God becomes an eternal keepsake, a memorial to the glory of God….
IF we don’t hold out on God—God will not hold out on us. This trip proved that true in a million ways!!! We want to do amazing things for God, but that isn’t our job… that’s God’s job. Our job is to fully surrender everything that we have and all that we are—to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, if we do our job, God will most definitely do His. I was given a promise and this promise has been fulfilled to a degree I never dreamed possible…
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you”
He had done just that.
Thank you for putting yourselves out there—for us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! Thank you for placing what was in your hands, your heart and offered in your prayers—into God’s Hands.
He has surely done great things.
My love for each one of you extends to eternity. I love you all so much. Thank you for staying strong for us! We have seen great things!! Enjoy our trip with us by watching the links below!
Love you all and Merry Christmas!
The 1500 students at Majakaneng: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPz9AZBAKhs
Party at Majakaneng: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcU3OdzZmC4
Party at Maboloka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48cYOKt3Rcs
Home Visitation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAX4MpGi_9c&feature=youtu.be
Life Lesson 1- Putting lives in order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziVZEzWpAZA
Life Lesson 2- The Oneness of the Family of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xohfpjjyIeM
Gogo Tributes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhGzxTdWTUw