First Week of Advent: Hope
Monday, November 28, 2011
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
In June of 2001, I traveled to Russia (for the second time) along with a team of twelve individuals including Brother Ernest Martin as our very able leader. Our location was Bryansk (about three hours from Moscow) where we worked at the Byezhitsa Church. Our various assignments included teaching in the pastor’s school, VBS, new church construction at another site, visiting orphanages, prayer-walking, and participating in several church services.
Three of us women were housed in a sizable flat (high-rise apartment) with the associate pastor’s mother (Luda) and sister (Lena). We spent many evenings getting to know them and learning about their daily life.
One evening, Lena was sharing her incredible artwork with us when she suddenly excused herself for a moment. She returned with a plastic shoebox in her hands. Lena opened the box and began to take out its contents and lay them carefully before us. We immediately recognized that the box came from Operation Christmas Child. (Our tears were surfacing!). She took out a little notebook and showed us where she had written the date of her profession of faith. (She had not been baptized as yet because it takes a year of study before baptism and church membership).
Inside the box was also the name of the young girl that sent it, along with her address and picture. We shared with Lena how to become a pen pal.
We were able to see first-hand how much the boxes mean to children in another part of the world. What a wonderful ministry! What a great opportunity to be able to share Christ and the plan of salvation with a child and in their own language.
Prayer: Dear Father, I am so thankful to be able to participate in this ministry and to pray for the child that receives the shoebox. It is my hope that he/she will come to a saving knowledge of your Son and that they will share your love and the message of salvation with others. Amen.