5000 Reminders

With barely a month before I leave for Romania, I sat with coffee, Bible, journal and devotional books. And discouragement. 

As an advocate for 130 elderly and frail in Romania, part of my work with Elder Orphan Care is to raise awareness, resources and funds for their care. Donations tend to spike and sink, seemingly dependent on special projects, fundraisers and my speaking schedule. 

Recently I had a few ideas I thought would bring in a slew of donations, but they failed to do so. And although Pastor Viorel, my ministry partner who does the hard work 24/7 in Romania, never asks for money, the needs are hard to miss when I visit.

I had hoped to take a substantial financial gift for Pastor Viorel to assist him in providing shelter, food, and medical help for the precious souls in his care, but it looked as if I’d be going empty handed. Little did I know when I couldn’t shake the discouragement that had crept into my heart, God was smiling. Because He knew what was going to happen next. 

I sighed and picked up a favorite daily devotional. The Corrie Ten Boom quote at the top of the page quickly got my attention: “Do not ask ‘What can I do?’ but ‘What can God not do?’”

The correlating Scripture verse was Jeremiah 32:17. When I looked it up I knew God was speaking directly to me: “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” 

I wrote the quote and Scripture in my journal and read them slowly, again and again. Then I wrote “It really isn’t about me, is it, God? I’ve been striving in my own energy. How about if I get out of the way and let you decide when and how you will provide?” 

That seemed to get a “Good idea!” response in my spirit, so after reading my other devos and praying, I set out on my first appointment of the day. When I pulled in the parking lot I glanced at my phone and noticed an email had come in from my colleague, Andy. The subject line read “Anonymous”. That made me curious, so I took time to read the email. “Kim, There is a saint out there who sent in a cash donation requesting it be used to help the elderly. The note was NOT signed. $5000!” Andy ended his email with “Smiling!” 

That’s one difference between Andy and me. I was SCREAMING, wildly shaking my head and pounding my fist on the steering wheel. What?! What?! I reread the email. Seriously! FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS? 

When I caught my breath I read the email one more time to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. That’s when I remembered the quote and Scripture I had written in my journal mere minutes earlier. Obviously God had perfectly orchestrated my morning devotions as a beautiful and powerful backdrop for this amazing scene to be played out. 

All my striving, all my ideas, my plans! And then God uses a wonderful, generous, anonymous donor to give me 5000 reminders that nothing is too difficult for Him. 

 “Has there not been, sometimes, this temptation to do a great deal for Christ, but not to live a great deal with Christ?” 
-Charles Spurgeon 

 “…we pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something." 
2 Thessalonians 1:11 MSG

When the Student Became Teacher

by Bettie Hall 

Ethan, my 11-year-old grandson, has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. He is sweet and loving, extremely intelligent but socially inept. Change is difficult for him. He can easily become frustrated and go into a “meltdown,” screaming, kicking, hitting or throwing things. He relates more to adults rather than children of his age. 

My daughter and her husband attend ISP (individualized education plan) meetings with several individuals at Ethan’s school (teacher, principal, counselor, advocate) to go over his needs. These meetings often are frustrating for my daughter, but her most recent meeting was encouraging. 
After the meeting Ethan’s teacher approached my daughter and said, “I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you this, but Ethan has taught me so much this year. He approached me in the middle of December and told me the true meaning of Christmas. I now start each day with a prayer and have a sense of calmness that I did not have before.” Then she hugged my daughter. 

My son-in-law was in the hallway and overheard the conversation. My daughter is a nurse and works weekends. Her husband cares for their three children while she works. He said, “I heard the conversation. Perhaps it’s time I get them back to church.” Her response was, “And perhaps it’s time I change my schedule to every other weekend so I can go too.” 

Jesus indeed loves the little children, and the little children also love him. If an 11-year-old with Asperger’s can share the Good News of Jesus, why is it sometimes so difficult for us? 

People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:15-17). 

Note from Kim: When my friend Bettie told me this story I asked her to write it to share with a wider audience via Wow Dee Wow. Thank you, Bettie, for sharing this reminder that while every day is the perfect day to tell others about Jesus, Christmas and Easter offer us special opportunities to share the simple, yet profound story of Jesus’ great love for us.

Bettie Hall is Mom to two, Grandma to six, and friend to many. She enjoys retirement from her home in Virginia by volunteering with Meals on Wheels and a local food pantry, traveling with friends, and writing with her "Scribblers" group. Her prayers, encouragement and support impact Romania via Kim's service with Elder Orphan Care.

Unopened Envelope

The envelope sat in a pile of unopened mail for several days. 

I was busy and assumed from the return address it was the annual plea from a local theme park to bring my youth group there in the summer. It was only January so certainly there was no rush to open it. I had even considered removing that event from our calendar because the tickets were getting so expensive and the kids would also need money for lunch. Maybe we wouldn’t even go this year. So there was no need to open the envelope because I knew what was inside. Why take time to open something when I already knew what it said? 

Or did I? 

I opened the envelope. 

Surprise! "Congratulations, Kim Jackson, for registering your church group for a chance to win a FREE OUTING at Knight’s Action Park…. Your card was selected as the winner… You have won one free church youth group outing for up to 100 youth to include unlimited water attractions and miniature golf, plus lunch. Congratulations!” 

So…uh….it seems I didn't know what the envelope contained after all! 

I’ve kept that letter for 18 years because it reminds me of the Word of God. Yes, the Word of God, the Bible. I remembered the unopened envelope recently when my church began reading two chapters of Luke together each day. I joined in even though I’ve read that Gospel dozens of times. But guess what? As I read, I heard myself saying, “What? Since when has THAT been in the Bible?” 

Hmmm…so I just thought I knew….and made assumptions….but when I opened God’s Word there were wonderful surprises awaiting me. 

Oh God, may this be my constant prayer: "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your Word" (Psalm 119:18 LV).
Each week I write a BOG (Brag On God) post. My prayer is that my words will invite you to brag on God, too. And together we'll make God smile.