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A Gift Remembered

Gathering for Worship Before Medical Clinics BeginHer face is unknown to me.  Maybe her image is captured in some of the photographs I took that chilly morning.  I don’t know.

Sunday Morning Worship Before the Zambia Medical Mission Clinic

Her face may not be remembered, but her simple act of faith lives on.

Two Sundays, six days separating them, I hear the story of her gift spoken to those she will never meet.  Their retelling of the event takes my thoughts back to that village in southern Zambia.

African Villagers Walking

Larger crowds would come later in the morning to receive medical care from the physicians of Zambia Medical Mission, but this group gathered  in the chill of early morning to worship the Great Physician.

Gathering for Worship in Rural Zambia

We sang.

Church Service in Southern Zambia

We prayed.

Worship with Zambia Medical Mission Team

The table was spread and we shared in the bread and the cup.

Zambian Basket with Communion Preparation

We took up an offering.

Each gave of the currency they were carrying.  At the end of the service church leaders announced the amounts collected:  U.S. dollars, the newly rebased Kwacha, old Kwacha, and… groundnuts.

African Groundnuts in Sunday Morning Offering

I don’t remember the numbers.  But the last offering announced is etched in my mind.  And the stories I heard on two Sundays in November tell me I’m not alone in remembering a woman’s gift of a bag of groundnuts.  The whole bag, poured out, offered freely.  A bag of precious protein that would have helped sustain her family with its nourishment, a cash crop might have been sold to pay for life’s necessities.  Given instead.

I think of that woman as I hear two men recount the same story.  They tell this story of how her gift touched their hearts.  They speak of it to people she will never meet sitting in a church building in a land of plenty.  Could she even imagine that her story would bring tears to the eyes of a medical mission leader as he spoke to a church in a small Texas community?  Would she believe that a week later in another gathering a young man would be remembering her act as one of his most special memories of his first visit to a country far away from his home?  Did she know that day that her simple gift would be a more precious memory to this teenage boy than seeing the majestic spray of the mighty Victoria Falls or being so close to elephants and giraffes he could almost touch them?  Could she imagine that he would choose to tell about what she did that morning rather than tell of how he stood for hours greeting patients in line, or how he acted out the story of Zaccheus to crowds of children?

Children's classes

I like to imagine the woman placing the groundnuts into her bag that morning and carrying it balanced on her head to the village where we were gathered.  What was her intent? Was she planning this offering, or did she intend to sell them to the crowds that would be gathering shortly?  When the boy packed his basket with five loaves of barley bread and two fishes  and set out to go where the crowds were did he dream that his lunch basket would feed not just himself, but a multitude?

Two Sundays in a row I am reminded that the things I hold onto are just temporary; here today and gone tomorrow.  Those same things in the hands of Jesus can become a blessing in ways I may never see.

As I pondered these thoughts at the end of the service last week, I saw this lesson displayed before me in living color through the confession of a woman named Monica.  In Christ even death can bring life.  Tears in the hands of the Savior can bring blessing and joy.

I hope you will read Monica’s story here, as told by our minister, who just happens to be the father of the young man in my story.  I hope it will encourage you and bless you, as seeing it lived out has done for me.







One Comment

  1. Randy Young
    Posted 19 Nov ’13 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful story beautifully written by a beautiful friend. Thanks.

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