Ray Boltz has a song whose chorus starts with “Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am so glad you gave”. The song is about a man who dreamed he went to heaven and heard from numerous individuals, some he never met, whose lives he had impacted while he lived on earth. We never know how God is using us when He assigns us a job to do. Sometimes God gives us special work that may look like a disappointment. We often have to wait until heaven to understand it all.
There is someone I want to thank here on earth who worked for God and impacted my life in a powerful way. I mentioned her a few weeks ago as the eleven-year-old girl who had an urgent desire to pray by Brian’s bedside when he was in the hospital. Her name is Amara. This one young lady brought hope to my despair through her hugs and support the week of Brian’s memorial. She burst through the long line of people waiting to talk to us and reached her arms all the way around my waist to give me a hug as only she could. I received several of those hugs in the hospital as well. The reason she was in town that week was because she had a bad case of poison ivy and was not permitted to attend the fun summer camp she had planned to go to with her twin. I told her that I was sorry she couldn’t go, but that I was so glad that she was here that week because I needed her hugs and prayers. I don’t think she realizes how much her tender responses to God’s promptings have impacted me or other people.
Her family supported the Peru mission trip that I was scheduled to lead this past summer to Lima, Peru. I could not go on the trip myself, but the rest of my team went carrying out God’s plan. Amara had a very special part on that mission in a part of the world where she has never been.
Amara learned how to use duct tape to make a flower out of a pen. She was having so much fun doing it that her dad suggested they contact me and see if she could make some to bring to the women I would visit on my mission trip. I’m not sure of her reaction when she was told that would be wonderful and that I would need 125 of them, but she accepted the challenge and sent them to me weeks before the deadline! Everyone I showed them to was amazed and wanted to know how she made them. Each one was so unique and beautiful. Who would have known that duct tape comes in so many different colors?
The other nine team members of our mission team traveled to Peru and strengthened the church there with their loving and faithful service. They brought welcome gifts to the women’s retreat participants—including a gift bag with a custom-made pen created by Amara. The women were so thankful and used these pens to take notes about what God and the speakers were saying to them. I can’t imagine all the wonderful things that were written with these pens. Perhaps they wrote prayers, names of friends they made, thank you notes to the ladies on the mission team, even confession of their sins—as one of the spiritual activities that was prepared included writing their sins on disappearing paper, then watching them disappear in water like they do when we confess our sins to God through Christ.
Amara’s pens made with love and thoughtfulness for women she will never meet.
As we celebrate Labor Day and take a rest from our work think about who would thank you for carrying out your assignments given by the Lord? Working for the Lord is the best kind of work!