Recently, God gave me a very special gift. It didn't have a pretty bow or colorful paper. I didn't find it under the Christmas tree or in a stocking hanging on the mantle. No, it was given to me on an ordinary day, when I least expected it. Has that ever happened to you?
One of the vital ministry survival tools that I have found critical in serving in the heart of an urban center is that of consistent prayer. Certainly we pray for clients we have served in the past, those who are currently utilizing our services, and individuals who have yet to enter our doors. However, churches, businesses, individual donors, church representatives, pastors, volunteers, staff, and board members are also among those on my prayer list.
As seeds are sown and watered, there are times when we are so very blessed to realize results. Most of the time, however, we find that individuals and families move out of the area or their children grow up, and they no longer need the services offered at the center.
And then — when you least expect it — God sends a very special gift.
While Christmas shopping, I saw a former client. She came to Mercy for a number of years — last visiting the center approximately five years ago. Her youngest child is now seven years old.
As we talked, she shared that she is now working full-time and has moved out of the city. One of her parents recently died following a brief challenge with cancer. Life has been difficult, but she explained she's dealing with her grief by reading the Bible — the one she received at our center. And she prays. "I learned those things at Mercy. You ladies taught me about Jesus." She has been attending church and teaching her son about God.
With tears in her eyes, she said, "Thank you so much for everything you ladies at Mercy did to help me. You will never know because there are no words."
As I pray for all the clients, I often wonder how they are doing and if their families are serving and growing in their relationship with Jesus. I wonder about those who did not pray to receive Christ as Savior at Mercy. Have they done so? Yes, lots of questions run through my mind.
What a great blessing to see and talk with one who is on the right road — walking and talking with Jesus. Quietly I was reminded that there are others. Perhaps I will not meet them here. I may not learn of their changed life or the impact of this ministry on their family. We are called to faithfully plant and water, realizing that God does give a harvest.
Yes, I received a gift that could only come from God. In this case, the fancy bow and colorful paper were not necessary.
Sherry Camelleri is the Executive Director of Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center, Reading, Pennsylvania. She says, "Serving at Mercy is the most wonderful, challenging, and rewarding opportunity that I have been blessed to encounter." She can be reached by email.