In April I was in Benin, Africa leading a pastors training conference on 1 Timothy. While I was there I met the most beautiful 9-year-old girl. She lives out in Ci country where there is no medical care (not that the care in Benin as a whole is much more). I met Virginia because her local village pastor brought her to me for prayer. You see Virginia had a large tennis ball size (at the time) tumor growing in her mouth/cheek.
Her pastor wanted to see if there was anything we could do. Of course my first thought was that we would put her own our flight out, bring her to the states, have the surgery, and everything would be great. That however was impossible. I learned a long time ago that in that culture it is far better not to promise anything than to even hint at a possibility of something that you may not be able to follow through on. So we prayed, and we prayed, and we prayed. One of the things I prayed was that God would do a mighty work in this girl so that her testimony might be one of great glory to God. God answered that prayer!
Upon returning home my partner on the trip, Matt, refused to let this little girls situation fade to the background. As a result we were able to secure the initial funding we needed to have the tumor diagnosed. As the results came in so did the needed resources. I began posting about it on Facebook. The deacon’s at our church took up a collection among themselves. Money actually began to come in from people I went to high school with, but that my I had not seen in 20 years. I was and am still amazed.
Last Friday Virginia had her now softball size tumor removed. She is doing well and today we got word she is eating for the first time without a feeding tube. Praise God!
Here are some of the things I either learned or was reminded of through this experience.
1. Sometimes God leads you to actually do something as a result of your own prayer. Sometimes God working through you is His answer.
2. God’s people are generous. I should never be afraid to ask God’s people to give sacrificially to the ministry of the church and to needs like Virginia’s. Generosity and Stewardship is part of disciple-making. Asking people to give is no different from asking people to pray.
3. Social media can be used in many destructive ways, but it is a tool and when used correctly it can raise awareness about real needs and can give good people an opportunity to respond.
4. Virginia reminded me that so many more people in our world live conditions similar to hers than live like my family. No wonder Jesus wants us to care for the least of these. To whom much is given much is required.