Friday, April 18, 2008
What an incredible week. It's been exhilarating to watch God work through the Mason Community Church mission team. They came to serve the people of Alajuelita, but what made this group so special is they used children to do it!
That's right! The group brought seventeen children ranging in ages from five years to fifteen years old. When Merilyn, the children's director at Mason Community Church, first mentioned the idea I was hesitant. I think my hesitations were based on the fact that to my knowledge no one else does it. There must be a reason why you don't hear about foreign mission trips for children. I mean seriously, taking a group of children into a foreign country to serve as missionaries, what a ridiculous idea! Well, often what we think is ridiculous, God makes miraculous.
Watching the children serve others was inspiring and encouraging. They appeared to gleam of innocence as they were transformed into the hands and feet of Jesus. It was a nice change because they didn't seem share the same inhibitions, preconceptions or preoccupations of other mission teams. Children often see the world more clearly, the way God intended us all to see it. Some may call it naive, but maybe it's just a purer childlike faith.
I've learned a lot from watching the children serve, and have many memories that will stay with me for a long time. One such memory happened on a rainy afternoon. The group was standing in the drizzling rain waiting for the bus to take us to Aurora. We were scheduled to conduct a prayer walk in Aurora, but God had a different plan. Soon the light drizzle became a heavy sprinkle, which grew into a steady downpour. We quickly moved to seek shelter in the church downtown.
I was last to cross the street, because I stopped to direct traffic. I looked up and saw Adrian running back towards me. Adrian is a nine year old boy that God was about to use to remind me to open my spiritual eyes. He ran up to me in the rain and said "Mr. Spencer, I want to help that man". "What man?" I questioned. "The man at the door needs our help".
As we approached the church I saw a man standing in the doorway begging for change. He was scruffy looking, wearing shabby pants, and a dirty old trench coat over his half buttoned shirt. On top of his tangled matted head rested a bright red Santa Clause hat. He also had a half-smoked unlit cigarette protruding from his bushy mustache and beard.
I looked at the man, and then back down at Adrian. "How would you like to help him?" I asked. "I don't know. Maybe we could pray for him or something." I explained to the man that Adrian wanted to pray for him. He gave a smile and nodded his head. Right there, in front of the church, Adrian prayed for the man. It was a simple prayer. "God please help this man, and help him know about Jesus. Amen." I gave Adrian a few coins to drop in the man's cup and we walked into the church.
Reflecting on the experience has showed me that I need to have more of a childlike faith. Not a childish or immature faith, but a faith that sees things through the eyes of a child. I saw rain, he saw puddles to jump in. I saw a begging bum. (Who is quite possibly insane and potentially dangerous. To be honest, the santa hat kind of freaked me out a little bit). Adrian saw a child of God that needed help. I saw a problem way too big for me to solve. Adrian saw a chance to ask his Father in heaven for help, through a simple prayer.
In closing I want to encourage you to try and tap into that childlike faith. A faith that sees things more clearly. A faith that realizes our incredible need and dependence on God. A faith that still believes simple prayers can make a huge differences.
Thanks for all the prayers and support and please keep them coming! God is using them to amazing ways!
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4