Remember when …?

 

imageOn Friday a guy, who had done plastering work for us last summer, called at our house. As we chatted he asked “remember when you prayed for my friend?”

When he was working in our house Paul had told me about his friend who was critically ill with a brain tumour. Everyone was very worried because he was going downhill so fast and it seemed nothing could be done. I asked if I could pray with him for his friend and he agreed.

Paul said that was the tipping point. Previously his friend had been getting progressively worse and worse, but after that he started to get steadily better and better. Now he is back to normal and in Paul’s words “alive and kicking”!! Thank you Lord.

On Saturday, one of our Encounter students, who used to live near me, asked “remember when you prayed for me and Leigh-Ann?” Years ago Ashley had been playing with my daughter, Leigh-Ann, and when they came to tell me something that had happened, I had prayed with them.

Ashley said this had a big impact on her. Later she came to faith and I had the privilege of praying with her again a few years ago at her baptism. Now she too gets to pray for loads of kids by serving in kids ministry.

We’ve often no idea of the significance of actions that we’ve long forgotten.

Sometimes I’m tempted to feel like my world has shrunk as I have to rest at home more and I feel like I’m not “doing” much. This week The Lord has very kindly reminded me that the the small moments I chose to pray with someone in my home have had an impact way beyond these four walls in making a difference in the lives of others.

As Pete Greig says “The choices you make in the small moments can have disproportionate impact.”

Be encouraged that your choices make a difference and I pray this week The Lord reveals to you the huge impact of those small moments. The irony is I had seen Paul since last summer and I see Ashley regularly but it was this week they both chose to tell me!

Be an encourager! Remind someone else this week of the difference they have made in your life. Ask them “remember when …?” Chances are they won’t! But they will be greatly encouraged that you do and when you tell them the impact it had.

Let’s ask “what can I do today to make a difference to someone’s day?”

Never settle for anything less than an extraordinary life that changes the lives of others. John Paul Jackson

 

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You had me at HELLO

imageI went to my church yesterday morning.

What’s so unusual about that? Well, apart from Easter Sunday, it’s the only time I’ve been there since February! I’m not deliberately ‘forsaking the assembly of the saints’ (Heb 10:25). It’s been unavoidable because I’ve been away at other churches but more recently because I’ve been battling with fatigue again.

To be honest some times are harder than others to cope with chronic fatigue and this is one of those times.

I feel frustrated that I’m not me; I miss the freedom I had; I feel limited in what I can plan to do; I can’t manage a regular routine or job; I don’t earn anything; I can’t do the long walks I so enjoyed; I sometimes feel afraid to go out because it can take so much effort to chat with people.

I feel a failure when I can’t do a ‘normal’ day and I want to explain why I can’t keep up or have to take a nap, so I don’t come across as lazy, disinterested or just plain self-absorbed. I feel like I’m not doing or being enough even when I’m trying to give 100% of what I have. It affects me mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

Plus I feel guilty for being a moan when I don’t do the “I’m fine” response and my honesty seems like a long list of negatives.

Just as David poured out His feelings and struggles in the Psalms before crying out BUT and turning his problems into praise, so I want to shift my focus from fatigue to His faithfulness in the midst of it all.

At the minute social gatherings like church feel overwhelming especially when Mr R is away leading worship somewhere else. So it was a challenge to go yesterday, never mind alone, BUT I want to share His great faithfulness in the midst of my fear.

On the way, I had asked God to bring someone who could ‘hold my hand’. A strange request!

I slipped in the back door and the first person I met was a friend whose mother is also struggling with the ups and downs of chronic fatigue so she could understand exactly how I was feeling. While we had a tearful hug in came a friend who had been so helpful at the start of this journey two years ago as her husband had previously been ill with post viral fatigue. The next person I saw was another dear friend who had also experienced chronic fatigue many years ago. After the service another friend who has been healed from ME also came straight over.

One of the verses mentioned in the service was Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God had indeed answered my strange request. He was reminding me that He is always with me in the midst of this and He is the one who is holding my hand. He gently led me from one source of His love, compassion and encouragement to another but He who always does “immeasurably more” (Eph 3:20) had an extra special surprise for me.

After the service I noticed a couple were sitting behind me who have a holiday home in the area and have often visited our church over the past 7 or 8 years. The husband asked to speak to me for a minute. He said he wanted to thank me for the way I had always been so friendly to them when they visited and that my friendliness had been instrumental in them becoming Christians! I was so touched by this and said he had no idea how much I needed to hear that, he tearfully replied “yes I do, because Jesus told me to tell you”.

How GREAT is His faithfulness!!

Thank you Lord for reminding me and showing me how much difference a simple, friendly hello can make.

Maybe you’ve been feeling afraid or discouraged, and on your own. I pray you too will know that “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” and you feel the comfort and security of Him walking through it all with you, holding your hand, “your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:10 NIV)

Maybe you’ve been through difficult circumstances and you can now reach out to others going through similar situations. He can turn around this pain for your good, for the good of others and for His glory.

Whether you feel in the valley or on the mountain top, I pray you know the difference a friendly hello can make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Jyoti

imageToday is the birthday of a very special lady I met in Delhi exactly two months ago. You may have read some of her story already in the post from that trip.

When we met Jyoti and her husband, Pradeep, they had rescued 17 children from a life in the sex trade in the brothels of Delhi so they can live like all kids should, in a loving family, enjoying fun with friends and having the opportunity of an education. Jyoti and Pradeep haven’t a great deal themselves but they use all they have to help others.

Since April they have rescued 5 more children, making 22 in total plus their own son. This good news means, however, that their expenses have increased by at least 25-30%. To provide basic essentials like food and shelter, school fees and transport, uniforms and clothing costs 10 000 rupees (£100) per month for each child! This is a considerable amount for them but when you multiply that by 22, it is gigantic!

Jyoti and I have been exchanging messages and prayers for the latest children they’ve rescued – 3 girls age 6, 8 and 14. In particular they needed to find the girls a place in a good school. Jyoti and Pradeep are passionate that all the kids should be given the best education and our prayers were answered last week when the girls were accepted at their school of choice. But there are still many more prayers to be prayed.

Unlike here, education in India is not free so often children miss out on the opportunity to go to school. What is a basic right for children in the UK is an unaffordable luxury for many children in India.

For each of the three girls a yearly admission fee of £180 plus £25 per month in fees must be paid. That makes a total of almost £1500 per year and that’s just for 3 of the 22 children!

And there are still so many other children who need to be rescued.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote “there is never a perfect time to start something” and this feels particularly true just now when I’m feeling the effects of chronic fatigue more than I have for a long time. The enemy has been trying to remind me how little I can do at times like this but I want to show him that he is so very wrong!!

I maybe can’t do everything BUT I can do something!!

Before I went to India I fasted certain foods for 2 months and on 1 May I decided to repeat that for a month. That means no treats like chocolate, cakes, cookies, crisps but also no basics like bread ie no toast or sandwiches 😦 but also no bagels, scones, crusty rolls, baguettes, Veda, potato bread …. aaaagh!!!

I’m now on day 12, 19 to go!!

Compared to the sacrifices Jyoti and Pradeep make and the difficulties they encounter, this is a small sacrifice for me to make BUT I wanted to do something to make a difference and I would really appreciate your help …
could you sacrifice something for a month too? Cappuccino, Cadburys, Croissants, Chinese food, Cabernet Sauvignon etc and donate some money in lieu?
could you sponsor me to help me make a difference?
or maybe you could help to sponsor a child?

As a supermarket advert says EVERY LITTLE HELPS!!

Jyoti lives a life of constant sacrifice. She even shares her birthday with some of the kids as there is no official record of their actual DOB. Let’s give them all an extra special birthday this year 🙂

Click here to donate whatever you can to make a difference (Please note this link takes you to our pay pal account but ALL the proceeds will be forwarded directly to Jyoti)

The kids in this photo are faceless for their safety and protection but I have met each one of them and heard their stories and know personally who will benefit from your generosity.

Thank you so much 🙂

Donate

 

 

 

 

As we step out, He steps in

image

Encounter team at LVV

On Friday Mr R treated me to breakfast at Bob and Berts in Portrush 🙂 As he ordered it suddenly dawned on me this was the same place I started my first Saturday at Encounter School of Mission back in September 2012.

I could recall that terrified feeling of being asked to go pray with a complete stranger for the first time. It took me so long to build up the courage to go pray with a particular person that they got up to leave the cafe and I ended up having to run up the street after them!

I knew it was no coincidence that this came back to mind especially as I hadn’t been back at that cafe since. So I asked God if there was anyone there He wanted me to speak to or pray for. Just then the door opened and who walked in but the very person I had prayed for that first day!!

I had the same choice to make.

Do I chicken out and stay where I am? Or do I take the risk of stepping out?

I now recognise He’s gently nudging and whispering “you go and I’ll show” so over I went (eventually!). I was amazed when he said ‘I remember you praying for me that day!’ We remembered how God’s word for him had been ‘you’re my beloved’ and I got to share again how much God wanted him to know how special he was especially if He had set it up for me to pray for him twice in the same place!!

I thought I was just going out for breakfast but God had other plans, even better than breakfast!

To me it summed up the past two years of doing Encounter. It felt so scary taking the risk of stepping way out of my comfort zone that first day and it often still feels like a risk.

But now I know it is so worth it, I’m willing to step out even if it still feels a tad scary at times.

It was also a reminder that Encounters like these are not just for the Saturdays we go out as a team but they are a lifestyle … in streets and supermarkets, trains and planes, airports and bus stations, coffee shops and classrooms.

I had the privilege of sharing this story when a team from Encounter went to Lagan Valley Vineyard on Saturday. We shared our experiences of opportunities God had given us to pray with people on the streets to show His love and care for them and then we took some folks from Lagan Valley out to do that in the centre of Lisburn for the very first time!

In just over an hour, a dozen of us got to pray with 30 folk. The guys were amazed at how open people are. We got to pray for healing, for hope, for encouragement, for provision and prayers of blessing.

Afterwards, as Lisa shared her stories of the people she had prayed for with the group, she was simply overwhelmed that ‘Jesus would ever use me to do that’. This was the same Lisa who had confessed she was ‘terrified’ before we went out because she had ‘never done anything like this before’.

We don’t have to be experts, we just have to be available.

As we step out, He steps in.

“Our daily life is filled with opportunities for taking risks – for stepping out and trusting that God is more than able to meet the needs of the people around us, through us. When Jesus faced the hungry crowds, he turned to His disciples and said ‘you feed them’. He was training them to step out in obedience, to step out in risk taking. As they stepped out, God provided.” Robby Dawkins, Do What Jesus Did.

Let’s take these opportunities to share His love, His healing, peace, hope and joy.

As we go, He’ll show!