I listened to someone on the television who was saying that he had given up on prayer because there were so many unanswered prayers. But Philippians 4: 6 states” in every situation … present your requests to God.” God hears and answers prayer. Some situation and requests seem unusual and even a bit silly perhaps. I was reminded today of packing and moving day with a family that many reasons to ask for prayer. Their daughters were moving to a place further north joining their parents. It was the end of November and snow was predicted for the travel on a difficult road; there was a reasonable request for prayer for safety and travelling mercies. There was serious illness in the family, a child about to be born, concern for the safety of those who helped pack the rented moving truck: all of these were pretty normal reasons for prayer. Yet we also stood and prayed the plumbing and septic tank would hold out for another day so that there was not another stress on the family. This request was a bit more unusual and God answered. The truck arrived safely.
This week two men came to our apartment to talk about their interest in a struggling church and its pastor in a small community in El Salvador. Of course, we prayed for Pastor Isobel even though we had never met him. However prayer was lifted up by these two gentlemen who spoke no Spanish and their heart-felt prayer was extended to the pastor who does not speak English. The prayer was translated and spoken over the phone to Pastor Isobel. We prayed for him and his family, his congregation for the plantain that had been planted on the church land and for rain and sufficient workers to bring water to the plants if rain did not come. In spite of language differences and a distance of thousands of miles, prayer praised God, touched people and encouraged both Canadians and Pastor Isobel.
Is there anything too small or too unusual to be brought to God through prayer? God’s word tells us in every situation we should bring our requests to him. He answers.
Shopping this week has been quite different. After going through recipe books and looking for recipes on line, we bought items that we never have in our house: sugar, chocolate chips, cake mixes, icing sugar and marshmallows. Then we went to thrift stores and bought heart shaped cookie cutters, mugs, stickers and heart stickers and yarn. There is still one more shop to visit – the bulk food store. We are waiting for Wednesday and the seniors’ discount. There we will look for cinnamon hearts, heart shaped jujube and red and white gumdrops. Why shop for these things?
No, we are not hosting a Valentine’s party. We are participants in a bake sale to raise funds for two great ministries: the Inn of the Good Shepherd and a construction project in the Dominican Republic. If you are anywhere near Sarnia and its Bayside Mall on Feb 13 between 11 am and 4 pm drop by and decorate a heart shaped cookie, buy a fantastic dessert, get a tasty gift for your valentine.
What do beads and yarn have to do with a bake sale? You will also find several crafts for sale: bracelets, scarfs and a wide variety of book marks. Need a valentine gift for your child’s teacher. Pick up a heart shaped bookmark.
You will enjoy the food, enjoy some fellowship, have fun decorating cookies etc. but you will also help provide food for hungry people by helping out the Inn Of the Good Shepherd and help a congregation in Navas in the Dominican Republic move forward with it Construction. (Many churches in the Dominican call Valentine’s Day Día del Amor – Day of Love.) Get something to express love to someone you know and also to others you don’t know (for example, in the Dominican Republic.)
Not so long ago I wrote about simplicity and trying to reduce the number of things in my house. I had some success but now that yard sales have begun, I am collecting again. Not much of what I collect actually stays in my home.
The past two Saturdays, we brought home a new box of crayons, green hair for clown ministry, beads for Ladies crafts, hair bands to decorate, a journal to write in, a Spanish /English dictionary, a bag for a tripod that can be used on an airplane, embroidery floss than can be used for making jewelry. We look for anything that can be used by someone in the Dominican Republic.
Last year with help, we gathered over a hundred little cars which ended up in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
All of the things pile up on the spare bed beside the set of sheets, the adding machine etc. Some of the things end up in a school, others in a Sunday school class and yet others in a Pastor’s home.
Clown costumes and puppets are very much in demand but harder to find. Make up for clown or pantomine are always welcome as are white gloves. Canadian souvenirs make great hospitality gifts. Where will you find me most Saturdays? At yards sales checking out what might be useful in ministry outside of Canada.