Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Beginning in early October, we were blessed
with the gift of Patricia - a young woman from
Zambia - who came as a part of the Mission
to the USA program coordinated through the
Synod of the Covenant. It has been some years
(almost 30) since the church had participated
in the program, and so we were not sure what
to expect. Some of us had high expectations,
that she would make all our problems disappear
somehow. Some had middling expectations,
that she wouldn't be too much of a 'burden.'
Some had low expectations, just that it
wouldn't demand too much time and energy
to have her with us.

I read something once that spoke of God's
hopes exceeding our expectations - and that's
what happened to us. God hoped Patricia
would come and change lives, and she did.
God hoped that some of us, if not all, would
open our hearts, our homes, our faith to her
gentle teaching, and some of us did. God
hoped that Patricia would have the confidence
and the contentment that her children and
husband and church in Zambia would be in
good hands while she was gone, and she did.
God hoped that we would become just like
children, and be nurtured and taught and
blessed and loved by this Christ-like person
in our midst, and when we did, we walked a
little further along the streets of the kingdom
towards home.

We were so impressed with this gentle,
soft-spoken, gracious young woman who
had the courage to leave her husband, her
3-year-old son,her 6-month old twins (!)
behind. What incredible courage, trust,
confidence, faith. All in this humble and
graceful daughter of God.

And then, she stood up and spoke, and the
strength of her faith, the power of her trust
in God, her unwavering conviction that,
indeed, all things (everything!) is possible
with God, her passion for sharing the Good
News of Jesus Christ, not just with us, but
especially with the poor, the broken, the
abandoned of her country and of God's
world came flowing out, and we were all
blown away!

And then she said, 'Thank you', sat down
and smiled.

I'll bet that's how people experienced that
missionary from Galilee who was so
gracious, so gentle, so soft-spoken.
But when he opened his mouth, all
the power and passion of God's heart
came flowing forth and everyone was
just blown away!

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

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