Reflections on Columbia I would like to thank each of you for your prayers for the success of our mission. Your prayers truly helped Christ's church to bring healing to the sick and eyesight to the blind. Your prayers brought not only the King, but His Kingdom to people in Cienega, Columbia.
I first learned of the MAPS trip to Columbia at Sunday School from Bob Wisor. He said that the trip would be in January and that it would be somewhat more expensive than the one we had taken 10 months earlier to Jamaica.
My first inclination was to pass on this opportunity.
Money is always an issue. This trip would be about $3200 for the two of us and I would also need to take a week's vacation time.
Apparently God didn't see the circumstances of this trip in the same light as I was seeing it.
The next day, my boss told me to come to her off ice to pick up a letter . The letter was an announcement that I was to receive a one time salary supplement of approximately two thousand dollars. This amount would be enough to cover more than half the cost of the trip to Columbia!
God is so good!
Yet in spite of this blessing, I began to hear Satan's suggestion that I should perhaps hold on to this money for a rainy day. After all, wasn't my current service to The Lord sufficient?
Two weeks latter would be commitment Sunday. That morning as the praise band concluded worship with the song "Here am I Lord", I was moved to accept God's calling to sign up for the Columbia trip. I remember saying to Jaime "we're going to Columbia."
I knew that at this point in time that there might not be any available open slots and when Jaime called early Monday morning to inquire she was told that the trip had been filled ...but that the day before two people had backed out and now there was just enough room available for us to go!
Nothing is too big for God!
Some of you might ask, what special skills does Sam have that would make him of value to God in Columbia? He doesn't have any medical skills, his Spanish isn't good enough for him to act as an interpreter, his masonry skills are laughable, he doesn't plumb, he's not an electrician.
Fortunately God has a place for each member of the body of Christ.
Johnny, our team leader told me that I would not need to register those in need of medical services, the job I did last year in Jamaica, so I wandered into the eye glasses area and offered to help unpack the suitcases containing glasses and equipment.
As we began to unpack one of the bags, I saw inside an unopened box containing rubber bands and a loom for making rubber band bracelets. Before I go any further I want to tell you that this was one of those God things. In this case it was a set of circumstances that only God could organize.
You see, the previous weekend, my eleven year old granddaughter was visiting us and she had shown me how to make rubber band bracelets.
I now had a skill that probably no one else on the team had. I could make rubber band bracelets and I knew what God wanted me to do with the skill He had provided me.
We had a few Columbian children watching as we unpacked and began to set up the eye glass exam area. These were children who had attended the church worship service earlier in the day. I knew that God wanted me to use these rubber bands to begin to build a relationship with the children.
I asked Sheila, our group leader if she had a purpose for the rubber bands and if she knew how to construct the bracelets. She said that she did not. I asked her if I could make some bracelets and she encouraged me.
I opened the box, took out some rubber bands, took a seat near the place that the children were standing and began to build a rubber band bracelet.
They all gathered around and I demonstrated to them how easy it was to build a bracelet out of rubber bands. Yet what was being built was more than rubber band bracelets. We were building relationships.
They taught me in Spanish the names of the different colors of rubber bands. We asked each other What is your name? Como se llama ? How old are you? How do you say in Spanish , combo se dice en espanol?
When I finished the first bracelet, I gave it to Andrea. Then I showed her the steps to make a bracelet. Everyone joined in. Everyone was making bracelets and giving them to their friends.
In Columbia, we truly experienced God's power of reconciliation. We saw the work of the King in the bringing of his kingdom to his people. We saw the body of Christ, His church, be His hands and feet. We saw brokenness experience healing. We saw the sick healed. And in front of my own eyes I saw the blind see.
His work is not completed. He is still reconciling Himself to all things. Whether things on earth or things in Heaven. His body the church must continue His work until He returns.
The good news about the kingdom of God is that He wants to bring his kingdom not only to isolated and hard to get to places like Cienega, Columbia , but to conveniently easy to get to places like Phenix City , Alabama.
If you think that God might be calling you to join in His work of reconciliation, answer His call.
In fact, you don't have to go all the way to Columbia to have a part in Christ's ministry of reconciliation. He is working right here in Phenix City, Alabama.
I'd like to in invite you to get involved in Circles of Transformation. It would be a great place to get started.