There are some things that happen in our lives which we never see..
Like the ripples in a pond carrying out from the splash made by a rock tossed into water. The fruit of and long term effects of ministry oftentimes carry on beyond our sight. Sometimes however, life comes full circle and we are blessed with a glimpse of lives we have touched.
An unexpected phone call provided me with one such glimpse the other night. We have worked at the orphanage Fundaninos for over seven years. While there is a core group of children that we have poured into and discipled over the years, there have been many who have come, spent time there, then been placed with relatives, adopted or aged out.
One such individual was Minor, he was an older teenager who spent about a year with us, he was a responsible young man who loved God and was a continual help around the home. He assisted with teaching and was a good role model for the younger boys. He always had a smile on his face, was ready to help and was grateful for the kindness and love we showed him. We loved him as we did all the children and did our best to help his faith in God grow through study of His word. During his time there I gave him a donated laptop, installed graphics design software on it and he participated in the computer classes and the carpentry workshop with the rest of the students.
At some point, probably while we were on a trip to the U.S.he moved from the home and I lost all contact with him. That is until the other night when I received a call from an unknown number. It was Minor, he told me his name and asked if I remembered him, obviously I did, and after telling him how nice it was to hear from him, I asked him how I could. The normal reason many former residents of orphanages call me is to ask for help. We have always made it clear to the children we work with that if they are ever in trouble or need assistance, we are there for them, we have taken them into our home, found them jobs, places to stay, feed them and do our best to be an extended family they can count on.
He laughed and told me that he was fine. He had graduated from school and was now working in the criminal investigations department of the national police. He was still studying graphics design and, most importantly, attending church regularly and doing his best to live a Christian life.
He said that mostly he just wanted to thank me for all that I did for him and the other children in the orphanages where we work.
He said that our love for his people had touched his heart in a big way, that my sample of showing love through my actions and caring for them, without wanting anything in return had made a big impact in his life. He wanted me to know that he was available to volunteer with projects and ministry on the on the weekends because he wanted to give back to others.
The phone call ended me thanking him for calling, and, as I hung up the phone and dried my eyes, I fell to my knees and thanked God for His goodness in sending a former student to call me at a time when I was tired, overworked, overwhelmed and desperately in need of encouragement.
I woke up the next day reinvigorated and ready for the job at hand.
In one way or another I can often quantify the changes I see in the lives of those I work with on a daily basis, and it is wonderful. But to get a glimpse that a greater work is going on, one, that like the ripples on a pond, will go far beyond what I may ever see. That, my friends is a truly magnificent truth. That, is the fuel in the fire of the heart of the missionary that keeps him going day after day, month after month year after year proclaiming the Good News that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins then rose again, forever triumphant over the enemy, so that those who believe might be free from condemnation and have everlasting joy in God the Father.