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Behind a frowning Providence

1 Mar

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It’s such a wonderful thing to go out in #faith on #God’smission and witness first hand the ways in which he provides for you. Previous to my calling I have read numerous books by #Missionaries of how they did nothing but pray and God provided for all their needs. Naturally this was exactly what I presumed would happen to me so I spent hours praying for help, did nothing in particular to promote the service except through word of mouth, and people came in their numbers.

After realising that God was calling me to care for the #lonely, the #depressed and #isolated it was then that the need for premises  arose. With no idea of how to go about starting an organisation God sent along people who had the skills and knowledge to direct me in the right way to go. After securing Charity status the Organisation was set up and we were on our way.

After experiencing blessings upon blessings our situation then changed dramatically. People got well and moved on, others emigrated to their countries of origin. Funds ceased from coming our way, bills pilled up as our situation worsened with less people in attendance.

According to what I’ve been told this should not be happening  unless I have strayed from God. I Knew that I was #praying, seeking #God’sguidance, and #servinghim as much as I could. I sought God for advice on how to continue meet the needs of those individuals in our care.

Waiting on God can be quite exhausting physically. We prayed and fasted – nothing happened. Every avenue we tried failed. and it seemed that God himself had abandon us. We were waiting on God to answer our  prayers and  remove barriers, obstacles, and mountains so that we could see answers to our prayers.

For us waiting meant crying out for strength to cope in the struggles faced, for the help and support needed to carry out the task  and for financial support. At this time we were left with only six people meeting on a daily basis and not enough funds to pay our way. Yet, in all this struggle I clearly heard God saying: “keep the door open if it’s only one person attending”. I replied: “God that person will be very expensive to keep.”

I never expected to wait on God and in so doing have to experience #suffering, feeling broken, #abandoned, isolated, ashamed, loss and #unloved by God. However amid the feelings of #abandonment and #brokenness I always  knew that God was near and close at hand.

In obedience we decided to organise a jumble sale event. We publicised the event as much as we could even in other areas outside our district. We felt certain that people would turn up, but on the evening to our utter dismay only two people came. I was disappointed and #heartbroken. I could not understand what was happening to us. I felt very much ashamed as I had re-assured everyone that we would raise a substantial amount of funds on the day.

The outcome made me very emotional. I was broken and wept openly before the volunteers that evening. I did not care who was there. As far as I was concerned I was speaking to my heavenly father and if any one wanted to listen in on the conversation that was okay with me. So I wept and poured out my heart to God openly and  unashamedly. I told him of the frustrations, the hardships, the workload, the time and effort it took to organise the event and then failing to make it a success. I told him how disappointed I was and wondered whether he cared or even had compassion for me. I wept so much that at times I gasped for breath and thought I’d suffocate in so doing.

We had tried everything, now we’d come to a dead end. We could do no more, and then in that time of utter #lossness and #hopelessness God turned up. Suddenly I felt his presence as he comforted me. I became overwhelmed in his love as he wrapped me tenderly to his heart. The experience  made me  rejoice as I’ve never done before. I was singing, dancing, and laughing all at one. It was as though God has taken away my pain and #reassuring me of #hispromises and filling me with #joy. I heard him saying:

I do understand. I too feel your pain but all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8: 28)

The overwhelming love that I felt was also poured out on the other sisters who joined me in singing and  rejoicing. All at once we found ourselves going up the stairs to the little Chapel where Thomas was heard playing the keyboard and we all joined in praise and worship to God.

In that moment of frustration I was reassured that all is not lost that God was very present in our situation. That suffering hardships brings us closer to understanding the ways of God. It enables us to trust him in the darkness of our lives and to keep a quiet heart.  It gives us a new concept of who is in charge of all our situations, and that he is able to get us through in his time, and he did so miraculously for us.

The Hymn writer William Cowper wrote: Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace: behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.

We may not always understand why things happen as they do, nevertheless I’ve learnt that nothing can stop God’s constant presence with us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Rom 8: 35,37).

Yes we have gone through much trials and tribulations but my mission has  survived  I  will tell my story truthfully of a loving Father who cares, sustains and provides for his Children. He does so in ways they may not always understand. All we need to do is trust him for his grace and favour. Blessed be his holy name.

Who said it was easy serving God?

16 Jan

Gray Stone on Grassy Field during Under Cloudy Sky during Sunset

Serving #God can be dangerous even in this society. People are being persecuted simply for laying down their lives for the gospel. At the age of 14 I had accepted #Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, but through the lack of teachings I was unable to grow spiritually. For years, I felt my life wasn’t what it should be, and that there was something more to being#Christian than just going to #Church on Sundays.

New meaning

I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that simply through attending a #Convention I could come to #know Christ in a personal way. Being someone who liked to please others I went unwillingly with a friend to this particular tent meeting. Within half an hour I had recommitted my life to #Christ Jesus and found new meaning to my life. The burden and cares of this world that I carried over the years fell off and I felt free.

I had found a new and vibrant way of expressing my faith. The day I made my commitment I was told to go and bring comfort to the broken hearted. Having suffered bouts of depression over the years I knew how it felt to be lonely, broken , sad and living without hope. During a crisis situation prior to my conversion I realised no one was available to offer any support or #comfort that could help me through the difficult times of my life. I pondered on the fact that the #Church did exist but asked myself what is the Church for? If it could not offer #healing, #direction, and #love: what was the point of belonging to such an institution. In my own despair of finding support, I then began to take notice of other people.  I suddenly realised that my own personal circumstances was not isolated. The reality was that there were many others like myself who had various unmet needs that was not being addressed.

Ministering to the “Outcast of society”

In 1987 Six months after my encounter with God. He directed me to start a #prayer group. I packed in my job as a care Assistant and made myself available to those who came. Within three months there were thirty eight people attending prayer meetings. My home had become an open door to the community of suffering people and this had caused a great offence not only to members of my #Church but to my family as well. At that time many incidences of violent attack on members of the #community was attributed to people suffering mental disorders. Relatives and acquaintances said I brought shame on the family in associating myself with people termed ‘dangerous’. I felt despised and isolated as several individuals wanted nothing to do with me. For the first time in my life  I began to encounter persecution.

Before surrendering my life to Christ people saw me as a good person. Now that I had given myself to be used by God to bring comfort to those suffering the effects of mental illness I was accused of being evil, worthless, insane, and confused.

Qualifications

I had no special qualifications to give expert support to these individuals, except that I had gained a City and Guild certificate in Community Studies. This two-year full-time study of life from birth to retirement had given me some insight into the various conditions that presented themselves in these individuals. Apart from prayer this enabled me to use those acquired skills to give good counsel with relation to the taking of medication, getting them to talk about their feelings and involving them in group work, so as to help them to become motivated. This simple act of caring led to the birth of my organisation #WaysideCommunityCentre, with no funding what so ever.

I was trained as a local preacher and I’m carrying out my duties in the Church now for the past twenty seven years. However I still feel rejected for my dealings with victims of mental ill health and the reason why we are not being recognised for the hard work and dedication provided over the years. I personally feel like a recluse  even though the organisation is credible and reaching out not only in our community but also internationally. Do you believe it’s easy serving God?