Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Are you the 1 or the 9?

The last two weeks have been busy. The staff of Fairfield and HOPE has been buying supplies, delivering children to boarding school, and going to pay school fees for all the children who began school on September 7. I was happy to be able to visit all the schools where our HOPE children are attending and see most of them when we were paying the fees.

God worked another miracle this term. I was worried our money was not going to be enough to cover the fees and supplies because some of the rural schools had increased their prices. Each time I would think we were not going to have enough, we would find that a few of the children had transferred or been picked up by another program, so we did not owe for their fees. The last day, I ended up with exactly $120 left after paying out over $5,000 in expenses. We had three children left to pay for. For one we owed $80 and the other two were $20 each…exactly $120. God provided for us down to the exact dollar!

When the assistant administrator and I went to visit the children at Tsvingwe Primary, we called the whole group to the car to pass out supplies and some socks that had been donated. All the children were very polite and did the tradition clapping of hands and curtsey to say thank you before receiving their items.

A group of girls left together talking and laughing on their way back to the classrooms. As they were going, Belinda, one of our 7th graders, shouted back, “Sister Janine.” I looked up and saw that she had stopped halfway back to the school. “Thank you,” she said with a sincere smile, before turning back around and running to catch up with her friends. I was truly touched by this simple gesture of gratitude.

I am reminded of Luke 17:11-19 where ten men with leprosy ask Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus tells them to go and show themselves to the priest, and as they are walking away, they are healed. Only one of the ten, a Samaritan, came back and gave praise to God. Jesus wanted to know, “Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

Am I the 1 or the 9? God has provided in so many ways for each of us. Will I remember to stop, turn back and give praise for what God did? Maybe God is also touched by our simple gestures of gratitude for what He does for us. Today, I thank God for the sponsors who provided all the funding for this third term of school so that we did not have to turn anyone away…down to the very last dollar. I praise God for giving me, a foreigner, a home and a family in a far away land, and for taking care of my family and friends back home while I am away. Are you the 1 or the 9? No matter what your circumstance today, what can you return and give praise to God for in your life?

Now, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19

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