Devotions written by women in mission
Perfect Love of Life
Global Ministries’ missionary serving in Chile.
READ: 1 John 4:18
I crouch in the aisle of the dark church, my heart thumping with excitement. The music begins and the voice of God echoes, “One day I thought of you and decided to give you the gift of life. As the earth turned, I blew into your heart, and you were born.” The lights come on slowly, and I join the youth group in a theatrical dance presentation they have created and produced. Now three teenagers hold brightly wrapped packages which represent this divine gift of life. Some of us look at the package from the outside, satisfied with the pretty paper and bow. Others unwrap the box, but pick and choose only those things that seem comfortable or familiar. Still others embrace the whole gift, savoring the challenges and obstacles, joys and pains, loneliness and relationships.
PRAYER: God, help us open ourselves completely to your gift of life so we may discover who we are, who others are, and how we are all connected. Amen.
El amor perfecto de la vida
Misionera de Ministerios Globales sirviendo en Chile.
LEER: 1 Juan 4:18
Me agacho en el pasillo de la oscura iglesia con mi corazón latiendo de emoción. La música comienza y se oye el eco de la voz de Dios, “Un día pensé en ti y decidí darte el regalo de la vida. Mientras la tierra giraba, soplé en tu corazón, y naciste.” Las luces se prenden lentamente, y danzo junto al grupo juvenil en una presentación teatral que ellos mismos han creado. Después, tres adolescentes sostienen paquetes alegremente envueltos que representan este regalo divino de la vida. Algunos de nosotros miramos el paquete desde afuera, satisfechos con el moño y el lindo papel. Otros desenvolvemos el regalo, pero escogemos solamente aquellas cosas que nos parecen cómodas o familiares. Aún otros abrazamos el regalo entero.
ORACIÓN: Dios, ayúdanos a abrirnos completamente ante tu regalo de la vida para que podamos descubrir quiénes somos nosotros, quiénes son los demás, y cómo estamos todos entretejidos. Amén.
Partial to One Another
Alison J Stendahl
Global Ministries’ missionary serving in Istanbul, Turkey
READ: Acts 10: 34-35
Twenty-four years ago God called me to Turkey to serve as a teacher and school administrator. Today I work in a school community that is predominantly Muslim with a small Christian and Jewish minority. Yet we make no distinctions. We look to God together in times of trial and in times of joy. We pray for one another. We collect money for those in need. We visit the sick together. We attend one another’s weddings, dedications, and funerals. No judgment. No prerequisites. No membership. What holds us together is that we love God, have a healthy respect for God’s sovereignty, and honor God by our actions. Here I am part of small, Christian minority, yet I am valued for who I am.
Accepting God, may we look at our neighbors near and around the world without distinction or judgment, rejoicing in our diversity. May we share a common prayer for a world of peace and prosperity for all. AMEN
Good for Children
Global Ministries Social Development Worker in Laos
READ: Galatians 6:7-9
Minla has taught for 15 years in a primary school of 400 students for about $20 US per month. She was inspired to begin this work when she visited Donkoi Children Development Center. The purpose of the Center is to have activities that make school fun and practical so the children will remain in school longer, be protected from unhealthy activities and have a chance to succeed in life. The staff of Church World Service (CWS) and Global Ministries (GM) helped Minla get started by giving her basic tools and encouragement. The Children’s Handicraft Fairs she has organized have earned her praise, and she has been invited to display the children’s products at a meeting for the heads of 120 villages and 70 principals in Vientiane, Laos. Minla continues to run the children’s center with support from CWS and GM.
God, help us follow the example of Minla and not grow weary in doing good wherever and whenever we can. Amen
Hands and Feet of Faith
Rev. Adora Iris Lee
Global Ministries’ missionary who served in southern Africa.
READ: James 2:14-18
As I journey with our partners in southern Africa to mount a Christian response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, these words compel me to ask myself, and others: Are we ‘showing our faith by what we do’ in the fight to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS? Is our faith influencing our individual works? Is our faith made real by our collective witness? Are we doing all we can to prevent HIV and AIDS? Are we doing what we must to support those who suffer from AIDS? Are we showing our faith by what we do to fight HIV/AIDS at home and abroad?
Starting today, let the Holy Spirit lead us to respond with compassion to those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Dear God, let our faith in the resurrected Christ come alive through the “works” that we do here on earth. In your healing name we pray, Amen.
God’s Blessing Is for All
Rev. Judy Chan
Global Ministries’ missionary who served in Hong Kong.
READ: John 2:13-16
The startling image of Jesus cleansing the Temple demonstrates God’s righteous anger at those who take advantage of the poor. In Hong Kong, the ‘winner takes all’ philosophy is accepted by many people, even if it results in the losers facing unemployment, unreasonable working conditions, ridiculously low wages, and a bleak future for young people entering the job market.
Do we in the churches have anything to say about this huge gap between the rich and poor, or do we just pray that we can hold onto what we have?
O, Jesus, you promise us that in your Kingdom, all have equal access to God’s blessings. Give us the courage to challenge the system wherever we are and to share our own wealth with those in need. AMEN
Food for Hope
Rev. Sandra Gourdet
Global Ministries’ missionary who served in Haiti. Mrs. Gourdet is currently the Area Director for the Africa Region.
READ: John 6:1-15
The name “Andrew” was intentionally chosen for the Theological Seminary under the auspices of the National Spiritual Council of Haitian churches to emphasize its mission of uncovering and nurturing the gifts brought by pastors and students. The miracle of Andrew Seminary has been in planting seeds in the minds of a few pastors who in turn have contributed to the transformation of the lives of thousands. As minds become aware of the possibilities for a better life here on this earth through education, the despair and poverty are transformed to hope and prosperity. Andrew played no small role in the miracle of feeding the five thousand. Andrew Theological Seminary stands as a living symbol of how the five thousand can still be fed today.
God, grant that those who minister in Haiti find ways to feed the minds of pastors and leaders so that they may feed the thousands in their care with direction, guidance and hope. Amen.
Denial of Life Abundant
Global Ministries’ missionary who served in Puerto Rico.
READ: John 18:25-27
There are many instances of denial in Puerto Rico. For more than sixty years the women of Vieques were denied the right to give birth in their town. The lack of a hospital forced them to travel by boat or airplane across the ocean to the town of Fajardo to give birth. Today a new opportunity has been given to them and they can give birth in their small hospital in town.
In 2002, the most comprehensive law condemning violence against women was enacted here. Unfortunately, this law does not cover the rights of hundreds of undocumented Dominican and Haitian women who have left their homelands for a better life. This gap denies them the right of protection from abusive partners – one burden too many for those in need of jobs, decent housing and medical services.
God of life, we pray that you grant your abundant life to the women in Vieques and the undocumented women in Puerto Rico who still long for such a blessing.
Spirit of Love
Global Ministries’ missionary who served in Argentina.
READ: Luke 4:18-19
Through the Spirit of Jesus, we have been anointed to bring good news to the poor. We are His hands to feed them and receive their offerings of determination and humility. We are His arms that release the captives from injustice and embrace those who live with abuse and hopelessness. We restore sight to those who cannot see the power of God’s love and justice.
Here in Argentina, there are great injustices. In the recent past, 30,000 human rights activists who sought justice were tortured and killed by the government. Jobs are scarce and pay is low even for the educated. Half the population lives in poverty and parents fear their children will be kidnapped and killed for a few hundred dollars. Into this context we have been received to share with them all that they have, and to seek the year of the Lord.
Gracious God, guide our hands to do your work. Help us to be your witnesses of hope and justice in this broken world. Amen.
Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Global Ministries’ missionary who served in Bangalore, India.
READ: Luke 24:13-35
As they sat together and ate, the stranger picked up the bread and broke it. It was then that they recognized the risen Christ in their midst. We have had many experiences of recognizing God as alive and working in India. At St. Luke’s Leprosarium in South India we watched Dr. Jeyabalan exercise ministries of touch for people with leprosy. The staff shared their dream of expanding the hospital to care for people with AIDS, since many factors of their social exclusion are similar to those with leprosy. Then it was mealtime. As we sat on the ground among the patients, banana leaves filled with rice set before us, we experienced that moment of recognition. The risen Christ is at work among those who are most excluded in the world. God is inviting us to the table, to join that work.
O God of life, give us those moments of recognition so we may join in your transforming work among all people. Amen.
Global Ministries’ missionary serving in Indonesia.
READ: Mark 7:24-30
The corrupt Forestry officials went to a remote mountain village. They entered a house, trying not to be seen. But a girl whose mother earth suffered from deforestation saw them, and came and served them coffee. She argued with them not to take the sandalwood trees they had come to claim. They said, “You are of the Almet clan who drove away the marble mining company several years ago.” She answered, “Sir, even the girl who serves you coffee will argue for the forests of her ancestors.” Then one official said, “I think you better tell us your first name.” But the girl refused, went outside, and found mother earth with only, but still, a few sandalwood trees to cover her nakedness.
Creator of sweet-rooted trees, when we are intimidated may we take courage from Jesus’ approval of women who stand up for their beliefs so that your forests, and our daughters, may stand with dignity and live without demons. Amen.
Food for the Soul
Global Ministries’ missionary serving in South Africa
Read: John 21:15-17
As chaplain of Inanda Seminary, an all black boarding school for girls in Durban, South Africa, my ministry is feeding “sheep.” The students present me with very challenging pastoral needs: AIDS, rape, abuse, pregnancy, and relationship disputes. I don’t and can’t necessarily solve their problems, but I can offer them Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who truly satisfies, feeds and heals our souls.
Recall a time in your life when you were at your greatest need. What did you need? I would guess that you needed to be fed; you needed someone to listen and walk with you as Christ would. As a missioner, I am called, like Peter, to listen and walk with the students of Inanda Seminary.
We often try to feed ourselves with things that do not satisfy. When we are in need, help us to turn to You who are the only one who can feed our souls and heal our pain. Teach us to lead others to You when they come to us in pain. Amen.
God Will Be Your Guide
Global Ministries’ missionary serving in Jerusalem
READ: Acts 9:1-19a
The conversion of Saul is the beginning of the fulfillment of Jesus’ message to spread the good news to all corners of the earth. As we work in mission around the world, we walk forward in new places following God’s call. It is not always clear what we can do, yet when we have dedicated our lives to Jesus, God picks us up where we are and uses us.
Each day, as I pass through a checkpoint and stand with the Palestinians waiting in the hot sun, or sit with a grieving family who is being separated from relatives by a 25 foot cement wall, it strengthens me to remember Jesus’ message to Saul – go and I will guide you. This is part of our daily struggle as Christians – to let go of our own needs and follow God’s call wherever it leads.
Our God and Guide, Lead us forward in your way. Help us to remember that the message of your son today and always will guide our footsteps on the sure and steady path. Amen.