So he (Zacchaeus) ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus, for he was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. Luke 19:4-6
Two simple words describe the month of August for me: renewed joy. The past few months have been very busy and filled with many challenges. I’ll admit, I had gotten discouraged, overwhelmed, and frustrated at times. God’s grace for me this month came in the way of several ministry opportunities. To begin with, I traveled to Malawi for the first time. I did some health teaching at a women’s conference for the Confessional Lutheran Church—Malawi Synod. This precious time with the women was filled with singing, dancing, and praying together. It created an abundance of joy in my heart. This joy continued as I served alongside a Mercy Medical Team here in Kenya. Together we shared healthcare and the Gospel with the Samburu people. As I prepared our team, I kept encouraging and reminding them: “I don't care how many people we see this week. I care that you see the person in front of you.” Little did I know, God was using my own words to teach me the same lesson. Allow me to share just two stories of the people God chose to put in front of me.
My first lesson with the ladies in Malawi was a devotion focused on God's value of women.
My coworker Shara talked about the roles of women in the church.
Eventually, we worked together to discuss and learn about how God has created the female body to work.
After the lesson, I welcomed the ladies to ask any questions they have. The questions were many, but it was my joy to discuss their concerns and do some teaching!
Yolona and Her Family
Fast forward a bit to the Kenya Mercy Medical Team. One of our patients was a 6 year old girl with severe cellulitis of her hand from a knife wound. The team saw her every day to monitor her condition. The time, attention, and love that was shown to little Yolona by the team was beautiful. God graciously allowed me to assist in her care and the teaching of her parents. At week’s end, she had improved, her beautiful smile replacing the looks of fear and pain on her face. Thank you Lord for allowing us to be a part of Yolona’s story.
Seeing with the Eyes of Christ
Luke 19 tells the story of Zacchaeus, who didn’t want to miss Jesus, so he climbed a tree. Despite the large crowds, Jesus saw Zacchaeus, invited him down from the tree, and they were united joyfully as friends. Jesus’s example, of seeing the person in front of Him, is key for all Christians. I could share many stories of the people that God places before me, the question is, how many times do I not notice? Join me in praying that God would open all our eyes to sharing His love and grace with every single Zacchaeus that He places in front of us!