Rachel Pellett serves with the United Church in Jamaica and Cayman Islands.
Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts. I believe this statement to be true. Since learning about Christ as a teenager, I have come to see time again that one thing worth celebrating far more than having our prayers answered is seeing and seizing the opportunity to partner with God to be(come) the answer to someone else’s prayer. At Pringle Home for Children, we have received a whole lot of both blessings lately, thanks be to God.
As a mission co-worker serving under the auspice of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with Pringle Home for Children, I report to the Director of Pringle Home, Mrs. Jeanette Rose-Bryan. She is a woman of wisdom and faith with a pastoral heart that beats especially for children and has not only formal training but a long track record of working with multiple generations of adolescents. Having served as Director for Pringle Home for Children for nearly three years, she has countless stories, but one in particular is a beautiful testimony of God’s loving care:
For many families around the world, things get a bit tight by the end of the month. Although we are careful to steward our resources as well as we can, this reality of needing to warily balance needs and available resources is also true for the Pringle Home for Children family, too. The Christmas season – both leading up to and following – can be especially challenging for many families. It was during this time that our Director, Mrs. Rose-Bryan, received a telephone call with a request on behalf of a family with two young children in a nearby community. The individual on the call explained that resources had run out and wondered if somehow Mrs. Rose-Bryan could be of help given her role within the United Church of Jamaica and Cayman Islands. It was immediately apparent that responding in kind was the only and right thing to do in her mind, so, faithful to the gospel message to love others and out of her deep passion for children, Mrs. Rose-Bryan proceeded to recount Pringle Home for Children’s reaction to this urgent need. Despite having already carefully calculated how to budget resources to meet the needs of the Home until the end of the month, staff were invited to gather from the food pantry and refrigerator enough items to meet our neighbor’s expressed needs. Happily and generously, a box was packed to the brim, and without a moment of hesitation or worried thought of how we would make do with less. Evident in the smile on her face, for Mrs. Rose-Bryan, the ability to support this family was a great blessing. She was simply overjoyed to have been able to give from what we had on-hand, and to share from the resources that God provided us that month.
Aware of the constraints under which we operate at Pringle Home for Children and so understanding the sacrifice in this offering, I was reminded of the gospels’ account of the widow’s mite or last coins, told in Mark and Luke, as an example of giving honestly and generously of what we have, of whatever we can. While grateful we did not have to give the entirety of our food goods on-hand (which would have been comparable to the widow’s offering in the story), I could appreciate and was certainly inspired by the faith it would have taken for Mrs. Rose-Bryan and the staff to respond as they did. I smiled in awe and just when I thought my heart was at full capacity for receiving such good news, Mrs. Rose-Bryan’s story was indeed not finished. This was not nearly the end of the miracle in her testimony:
Mrs. Rose-Bryan continued. She shared that as she drove out of Pringle Home for Children’s driveway with the box for delivery to the family, a vehicle was entering unexpectedly but divinely timed at the other end of our property. This vehicle carried exactly what we had given away to our neighbors and even more in addition! This delivery of food goods was unbeknownst to her, in the same way that Mrs. Rose-Bryan’s decision a few hours earlier to bless a local family was unbeknownst to the donor of this blessed gift to us. In both cases, nonetheless, God was at work answering prayers all around.
Truly, God has such a beautiful way of exceedingly and extravagantly meeting our needs. Something like this had already happened to us earlier that year, too. When the economic impact of COVID-19 hit us in Jamaica, just as a delivery to a family in need was made out of our limited supply, we received not one but two unrelated and generously large donations of much-needed food good items shortly afterwards for us as well. Like the widow in Zarephath who sacrificially offered water and bread made from the last of her oil and flour to a prophet of God named Elijah and in doing so was met with the miracle of an abundance of each thereafter (her story is written in 1 King 17: 7-16), I have seen for myself the ways in which Pringle Home for Children has continuously been blessed at the exact moment of our need. Although Mrs. Rose-Bryan is often met with the challenge of finessing our budget to balance our needs, out of these timely blessings of just enough of what we have needed exactly when we have needed it most, by God’s inspired provisions Pringle Home for Children has continued to be able to be a blessing not only the 20-30 girls who call Pringle “home” but also share with individuals and families beyond the parameters of our Home too. In fact, thanks be to God, in addition to the last unbeknownst vehicle carrying a bounty of blessing (as if a miracle in response to Pringle Home’s generous and faithful “yes”), we have seen quite a few more blessings and answers to prayer. To name just a few: the ingredients for a full and complete traditional Jamaican Christmas dinner with all the trimmings was donated for an extra-special Christmas supper; an outpouring of Christmas blessings for the girls this year from local and global partners, even in spite of COVID’s economic hit; two barrels full of goods from overseas this January, carrying both essentials as well as special personal items for each girl; a donation of 10 boxes of books for our library; receipt of a grant which allowed us to purchase tablets to meet the girls’ learning needs while schools in our community remain closed due to the pandemic; etc. For all these miracles out of the generosity of good people with kind hearts, we give God thanks!
Thank you God, for all the ways you have and continue to meet the needs of your people, all around the world and in all times. We praise you that it is your nature to delight in using your children to answer prayers. We praise you that we get to be part of everyday miracles and ask that you would continue to awaken our physical and spiritual senses to the ways we can give of ourselves in partnership with you more often. Creator, Comforter and Christ, we thank you for being The One Who Sees (as Hagar affectionately called you), and for your endless and unconditional care. Dare I say, God, we need you especially now. As you know, between the multifaceted impacts unfolding from the pandemic, a long overdue but attuned attention to cries for social justice, and all else your children have called out to you for in 2020, so many of us are struggling to make the best of our finite resources. God, some of us feel we have reached wits’ end. We stop now to be aware of your presence in it all, with us all, always, and we breathe. [Inhale/Exhale] Using this very same breath, we praise you for not withholding even the things of heaven from those who feel they’ve come to the end of their resources, tangible but moreover emotional and spiritual. We pray we will see the blessing that you freely offer the poor in spirit. By your Spirit, may we receive it as freely as you offer it, and then in turn may we use it to continue to partner with you to be a grateful, faithful people who respond with kind hearts to become part of the unfolding of everyday miracles all over again.
Rachel Pellett serves with the United Church in Jamaica and Cayman Islands. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.