Tuesday, March 2, 2010

God Can Use Us, Even Though Our Hands Are Small

Yesterday started out like any other Monday. I got up, got ready and headed out the door to go to work. Little did I know what God had in store for the rest of my day.

Before I get into the story of how my day unfolded, I would like to take a mini rabbit trail and tell another story. In February we were challenged at work with reading passages of scripture everyday. By the time Easter is here we will have all read through the Gospels. It is only 2 chapters every day, however I have the worst discipline when it comes to scripture reading, so it has been a bit more challenging for me to get into the habit. Yesterday I was reading from Matthew 25-26, later in chapter 25 Jesus talks about how we will be blessed when we help those in need (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.). I have read this passage many times but I have never been quite as touched by it as I was yesterday.

Every Monday for the last couple of months Marc has been in Morden working on a play, so for the past month I have been using this time to get to know a previous Camp Arnes employee. Our Monday evenings are filled with laughter, TV and way too much food. However, this Monday was different. I got a text saying that we were going to have to attend a meeting instead of just hanging out at her place. I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of having a meeting and she gave me no indication of what the meeting was going to be about, but I felt it in my heart that I just had to be at this meeting.

The friend that I visit with every Monday used to work in immigration, she had her own business and brought people from all over the world to come and work in our city. She had also done a few refugee cases during this time, even though this was not the main focus of the business.

Last night's meeting was with the parents of a family that she had helped bring to Canada back in 2004. They are wanting, with the support of a local church, to bring over more of their family.

The sad thing is what my friend had to say to me as we were driving over to this meeting. She explained that her and her husband, with the first family, put in a lot of their own money, however this time they were not in a place to financially support the new family. And I don't mean like a few hundred dollars here and there. For this family of 6 to come over they need about $40,000 to pay for their flights and for their first year in Canada. Not pocket change. She kept telling me how she was going to have to deliver this bad news and how she was 100% sure that this family was not coming to Canada any time soon.

I sat and listened as she explained how this all is looking and how the government of Canada has changed some of their policies, I could tell by looking at every face that the hope of having this family come to Canada was a lost battle. The only major question that was asked (mostly by the people of the supporting church) was just how much money was needed in order to have them come. My friend broke it down into what they would need for the basics and other costs involved, I noticed that the couple from the church kept on whispering over the answers my friend was giving. I was told, before the meeting, that it was finances what was going to steer the church away from helping this family because it is such a big undertaking.

As they continued on the topic of money, my friend felt it very important to tell everyone at the table that although she would love to help this new family once they are in the country, she wasn't able to financially give like the first time she had dealt with this situation. She went on to say that without money this couldn't happen and that she didn't sleep at all the previous night because she was so stressed over this one issue.

The couple from the church had been very quiet for the past hour and I was getting the feeling that they didn't have much to say. But boy was I wrong. The husband quietly apologized to my friend for her stress and lack of sleep. He went on to say that three years ago his company was bought out and he had kept the money he made because he knew that God was going to challenge him with it. He said that him and his wife were 100% committed to paying the full cost, whatever the total amount, for this new family.

Well, everyone was in complete shock. Even I was. I had no idea really what was going on, but I sure could feel the Holy Spirit in that house just moving. As I looked around the table, tears filled everyone's eyes. This was the answer they were all looking for. My friend just couldn't believe her ears because the only problem she could see was the lack of money. But God knew differently.

It was amazing to just sit back and listen to the conversation after the woman from the church said "If you need it today, we could write you a cheque for the full amount because we are that sure God wants us to use this money to help bring this family over to Canada". After that moment the conversation went from "how are we going to do this" to "what do we need to do in order to get these people here" and "how can we make their transition easier?".

It was such a blessing to be just in the room.

It was then that the strings of my heart were tugged upon. Ever since Marc and I have been married there has been a place for Africa on my heart. Which has been confirmed many times in the last 2 and a half years. Recently our church held a fund-raising banquet for the Villages of Hope in Africa. After the evening was over I looked at Marc and said, "Well, I hope you like Africa because in the next 5 years we will be heading over there". I had no idea what I had even said until Marc looked at me and simply said "Ok".

Anyway, as I was sitting there I was so moved that I started thinking of simple ways that I could help out. Teaching was the first thing that popped into my head. A few summers ago I actually got the chance to tutor some kids at my old church who had just recently come from Africa, it was such a great time and doing it again is something that I could bring to the table. Sports is something else that I can help with, not that I play soccer (which is the favourite sport among this family) but I know where gyms are, I know how to get equipment and I have been trained with the knowledge of how to teach sports and games. The third thing that I can provide is an experience away from home with other Christians in a safe environment.........Camp.

I don't even know this family or their situation or what they have been through as they live in Africa, but the verses from Matthew 25 just kept popping in my head. Marc and I might not have a lot of things or money, but we have able bodies, hands that works, and hearts that love. This young couple from the church has taken on the role of what many of us can't, the financial aspect. However, the rest of us can help out in so many other ways. Which is what I learned last night. And it doesn't have to be about this family, there are so many people in Winnipeg near where I live that could use a helping hand or someone just to talk to.

I know this post is long and it totally does not do justice to what really went on last night. No words can even come close in explaining the feelings and emotions I experienced last night.

What I did learn is that even though we might not have much or our hands might be too small, God can use us. We just need to let Him. And there are so many opportunities where He can use us.

I got to meet the African family who came over to Canada 4 (almost 5) years ago and here their stories of their journey to our country. I got to listen as they told us about what a blessing it has been living in Canada. But most of all they continued to praise God for the many blessings in their lives.

Can I get a HALLELUJAH or an AMEN!?!?!?!?!?


  1. It was so moving. Like words can't even describe it.

  2. Jenna - WOW! It's so amazing how God can use what little you may have to offer to help someone in such a big way. This brings me back to when Cam had nowhere to go and something just said "take him home," and home turned out to be my household.
    I am so excited! God has used so many people in so many awesome ways for so many awesome things! I'm definitely going to be SUPER PUMPED tonight at Church when I sing, now that this story is in my head!
    We need to catch up soon Jenna! Gimme a call sometime! We'll do lunch again or something!