I want to give God a praise shout-out this morning. Here’s why:
As national co-directors of International Messengers Canada, one of the most difficult tasks Gene and I face every year is finding volunteers to minister with us among Romanian teens living with life-threatening illnesses. We believe cost is the factor.
Volunteers must raise enough money to pay for their airfare plus the cost of their food, accommodation, ministry-related travel in Romania, training materials, and overseas health care insurance. They also raise enough money to pay for several kids to attend the camp we host. Why the latter? Because these kids have no means to pay for themselves. Nada. And so, the cost per person sits at nearly $4,000. (The fact that Romania charges tax of about 23% on everything drives costs up further.)
Many volunteers over the years have easily raised those funds. But more often than not, fear takes over when folks look at that number. The result? They assume it’s impossible so they don’t even take the first step to see what God will do on their behalf. That means we have no volunteers and no funds to pay for the kids to come to camp. Last summer’s camp was canceled because not a single volunteer stepped forward.
This year’s camp is scheduled for July 4-16. Last week at this time, we had four volunteers including me and Gene (we need eight). Things looked grim. We figured that Thursday, May 1 would be our cutoff date. If we didn’t have enough volunteers or funding by then, we’d have to cancel the camp again. And that thought broke our hearts.
We spent Wednesday afternoon in solitude. We also spent it in prayer, asking God for clear confirmation and wisdom to know how to proceed.
Our phone rang that evening. The caller said she and her husband felt led to donate $10,000 toward this camp. Amazing. That gift would cover the Romanian kids’ camp expenses and thereby reduce our volunteers’ costs by hundreds of dollars. We could now host the camp even with only four staff. (Overworked staff we’d be, but happy to serve nonetheless).
The next day, a woman emailed to say she wants to join our team. That brought our number to five. Over the weekend, I spoke at a women’s retreat. One woman there said she wants to come, so we’ll start her application process today. Another woman said she thinks she and her husband might be interested, so we’ll follow up that lead this week. A third woman handed me a cheque for $1000 and told me to apply it to the camp. Also on the weekend, a couple who have served with us twice in the past said they’d like to return; today they’ll find out whether or not they can get the time off work.
If all of these folks come, we’ll have 10 volunteers and the makings of a strong team. We’ll also have 20 arms to hug those kids who need to know God loves them.
Psalm 81:5-7 says, “I heard an unknown voice say, ‘Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks. You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you; I answered out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah.’”
I write these words with tears rolling down my face this morning. He’s taken the load from our shoulders. He’s freed our hands from their heavy tasks. He’s tested our faith and proven His power once again. What can I say except, “Thank You, Father”?
Would you pray with us for the details to come together quickly for the folks who expressed an interest this weekend? Thank you.
Know you are loved today,