1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This verse has been on my heart the past week. The past year has been hard for me; trying to seek God’s will and not really finding any direction. Feeling like I need to be taking some action somehow but not knowing what to do.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t really want to go to Nigeria this year. I could only go for a week because of work, I was worried about coming back and being jetlagged and overloaded, and I didn’t feel like my presence in Nigeria would be useful. But God made it very clear to me that I was supposed to go. In a nutshell, being approved to take a week off of work in the summertime in the real estate business isn’t easy, but I was approved! And when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to go because we weren’t getting enough funding, $6000 dollars came (the exact amount we had left to raise) in a matter of a few days.
Why? Apart from a few moments, I still don’t feel like my presence in Nigeria was important. Perhaps I’ll never know why God wanted me there.
One thing that happened is that Daniel Edeh, the director at the orphanage, taught me a lot about thankfulness and faith. He came to our group at the end of our time and thanked each of us individually for what we did, and he was moved to tears by the simplest of things. He told us about how God provides for the orphanage – that they have never gone without a meal. When they were out of food, food miraculously came to them through random strangers who heard about the orphanage and drove an hour down the dirt road to give them rice. Tell me, friend – have you ever had to rely on God that much? I don’t think I have.
James 2:5 says, “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” The people who live and work at Ministry of Mercy do not live glamorous lives but I cannot express how rich their faith is.
What’s funny to me is that when we expressed our thankfulness for Daniel and his strength and faith, he wrinkled his nose and made this face that said “Who, me? No, I don’t think so.” Really?? A man who has given his whole life to this orphanage and is called “daddy” by 300+ people doesn’t think he’s any stronger or more faithful than the rest of us. Humble much?
I am thankful for this trip because I got to see a lot of people that I love, have many good conversations, eat Nigerian food again, and open my heart to seek God’s will in the little things. Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks. These things will contribute to God’s larger plan for each of our lives and for the world as a whole. It’s ok that I don’t know right now where I’m supposed to go or what I’m supposed to do; my job is to trust God and love the ones around me.
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Thank you everyone who supported us in this trip and for supporting the orphanage in their need for daily food. We go to Nigeria almost every year – you should join us next time!