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My first time in Kitgum, Uganda, the people were still living in fear for their lives. They had been forced from their homes and lived in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) Camps. At night, thousands of children would walk for miles to come to the nearest town center. They would sleep on the floors of hospitals, churches - wherever they felt safe. They thought this would prevent the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) Rebels from capturing them.
I stood in their midst. I walked with them in the IDP Camp. I ate their food. I saw their pain. I thought ¾ how can we make a difference?
There was poverty, disease, hopelessness, fear, and a rebel group that they had been powerless against for twenty years. I held babies who were orphaned because of the senseless war. I spoke with old widows who had so many layers of pain in their eyes. I shared with them about forgiveness. I thought, who am I? and how dare I talk to these older women about forgiveness?
I thought of what they must have gone through, and I was overwhelmed. Here I was, a young woman from New York, telling these people to forgive. Then I remembered, it was God who was telling all of us to forgive. He wanted to set these women free, that they should no longer be bound in their hearts by the rebels.
I stepped WAY outside of my comfort zone, and I shared with them. Afterwards, I was shocked and amazed. God touched the women, and many began to share their stories. There were several whose eyes were dark that started to show a glimmer of hope. It was a beautiful moment, seeing how much God loved them and that He could reach them through even me!
And as for the children, though it seemed such a small act to hug them and hold them, it showed them the love of God.
They needed to feel love and know that they weren’t forgotten.
Years later I still know some of those same children who were babies back then, and we have a wonderful relationship because they know that I care. More importantly, they know that Jesus cares.
The Needs Here Are Endless
For every child we hold, there are thousands still waiting. For every woman set free from bondage, there are multitudes still suffering. If we spend our whole lives here, we will not even begin to scratch the surface of the great needs.
So why do we do it?
Mother Teresa once said: We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
I love that perspective. The few people I have had the opportunity to minister to are worth it. Even if just one life has been changed in my years on the mission field, then it is all worth it.
When Jesus walked this earth, He would not try to reach the biggest crowds. Sometimes, He would leave the crowds to find the one person He was meant to reach. He would invest in people individually, whose lives would be changed. Those people would then go on to invest in a few others, and so began the multiplication process that has led all the way to where we are today. Jesus looked at people, and He loved them. (Mark 10:21) He saw through their facades right to their pain, right to the heart of their issues. (John 4) He spoke to many, He healed the sick, but Jesus took time to touch individuals.
We can never reach everyone where we are called, but we can reach some. And that is enough. Whether that means paying one child’s school fees to give them the education they need, supporting orphans, training people in literacy, or teaching the Gospel message of hope, it is all important.
But the most important need that we all face is spiritual. Let us minister to people, let us give them the ability to eat, go to school, etc. But let all of that be an opportunity to point them to a Living Hope that they can have in Christ. Anyone who is willing to step out and simply love the people with the love of Christ will make a huge difference.
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[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ericambasan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_0088.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hi, my name is Erica and I am a God-called missionary for Northern Uganda. It is my passion and life-calling to bring God’s word to the people of the world. Each and every one of us can do our part in spreading God’s word to people in need of Jesus’ healing touch and hope. Trying to figure out if God has called you to the mission field? Do you want to learn more about what it’s like to be a missionary? Check out my book, For the Joy Set Before Us – Insights Into the Missionary Journey today.[/author_info] [/author]