Years ago in a dusty church on a hill I met Phyllis. Phyllis was the essence of an African woman, a ‘mama’ who’s skin told the story of her life. Weathered and sun kissed cheeks and hands that proved the dedication to farming for her family. Phyllis was more quiet in nature and spoke very little english, but it wasn’t eloquent words that captured my heart that day it was her smile. When Phyllis smiles it lights up the room. There is a joy and a passion that comes from her that is unique among the rest. There is a fountain that flows from her when she begins to sing in her native tongue about Jesus.
Over the last five years I have had the privilege of meeting her children, watching her lead her community, and teaching children about Jesus. I have sat at her home, drank many cups of chai tea and made many chapati. We have walked dirt filled roads together, sang many of choruses, and led our generations together. We have laughed and we have shared tears. Our hearts have been deeply connected and woven together. Each time God answers our prayers of seeing one another again, we know it is just that, an answer to prayer. We do not take for granted our earthly interactions, but have hope and faith in sharing eternity together. I know her story of faith, I know her struggles, I know her hopes and fears and she knows mine. She is beyond a friend to me, she is family, and together we are joined by an eternal Father who knew long before we met that one day we would share an eternal relationship that would fuel us both closer to Jesus.
It was July of this year that I spent very little time returning to the community that I call home and is her home. As we arrived I asked if Phyliss was going to be around. Knowing that time was limited and I would probably not be able to see her. I found myself asking God if there was a way. It was our last day in the community. I was tired and needed to document some of the work we had done. I needed to plan for the coming week with Journey and spend some time in prayer asking God what he wanted us to do. As the team pulled out for a long day I waved good-bye. I went back to my tent for some quiet time. As I exited my tent I looked over at the entrance of the gate, there my precious friend Phyllis was entering. I was amazed. I asked her what she was doing there that day as I knew it was a distance from her home. Phyllis explained that she was there to cook for the day for the team. My eyes immediately filled with tears and I hugged her at length. God again had answered my prayers. It was that day for me the “immeasurably more.”
The thing about overseas missions is that you can be assured of one thing: nothing is for sure. We walk into it often with arrogance, assuming that things will be just as we want or need them to be. The reality it that it is only by the grace of God that we return again and again to a country, spend time with the same people, and have the gift of doing so. It is only by the grace of God that day that Phyllis and I were in the same place and shared holy moments. We shared a holy day filled with beautiful friendship, conversation, honesty, and talk about Jesus. In that moment God not only answered my prayers but gave me immeasurably more. Typically days are filled with many people but that day it was only us. Typically days in Africa are filled with endless responsibility both with my job, interns, and my children, but that day I was alone. Typically I am in country for lengthy amounts of time but without knowing it this would be my last for a while. You see God knew and he not only answered my prayers but he gave me an afternoon filled with immeasurably more.
God gave me immeasurably more on that day in that moment and forever I will savor it.
God over the years has allowed our staff and team many moments of immeasurably more. The truth is this: everything that happens at Choose to Invest and in our African Communities happens because of God’s provision through generous donors and ministry partners. Will you continue to partner with us in 2015 to be a part of a discipleship movement transforming lives, empowering generations and restoring communities back to God? Will you continue to be a part of God’s story of immeasurably more and answering prayers of the our friends in Africa as we partner with them in discipling their generations?