I’m back home after spending two weeks in Romania. Amazing weeks, they were, with a team of five other women ages 16 thru 74. Partnering with three projects gave us opportunity to be involved in a variety of ministries. Everyone served enthusiastically and loved each other well.
Each morning began with team devotions, and we took turns leading. I especially appreciated one gal’s reminder that short-term ministry can be considered shallow. Indeed—on the first day, I raked leaves for several hours outside a ministry centre while the rest of the team worked inside. They washed floors and windows, prepared the newly-installed kitchen for use, and organized Sunday school teaching materials.
Shallow? Some might think so, especially if compared to hosting an evangelistic campaign at which thousands profess Jesus as Savior. But the work was needed, and it eased the load of our career missionaries who run that ministry centre. It also prepared the facility for a women’s tea we hosted two days later.
Twenty-eight village women attended that tea. They heard two team members’ testimonies of God’s faithfulness during difficult times, and they listened to six young women—three Canadians and three Romanians—blend musical instruments and voices to sing of God’s amazing love.
We began the tea by serving sweets and coffee, and we ended it with a scarf-tying demonstration. Shallow? Some might say so. But these little demonstrations of love, like book ends to our meeting, helped bring smiles and build trust. “When can you come again?” asked one lady when the meeting ended. She grasped my hands firmly in hers and planted a kiss on both of my cheeks.
At the second project, we sorted clothing donations, packed Christmas candy bags, and played Uno and did crafts with kids living with life-threatening diseases. Shallow? Some might think so. But again, we eased the load of our career missionaries, and we built trust with the kids associated with this ministry. In a society where they’re often treated as untouchables, we treated them as valued people. When the time came to put the games away and share our testimonies, they listened.
We spent a lot of time babysitting at the third project—a home for abused and abandoned mothers and children, and an orphanage. Facepainting, Uno, crafts, haircuts, manicures, and taking the kids for a walk—shallow? Some might say so. But to the battle-weary staff and mothers, our presence brought much-needed relief. Our doing something as ordinary as taking the kids to a different building meant the moms could enjoy a few hours of quiet and uninterrupted time to do their chores. When we said goodbye, one staff woman said, “A storm brings dark skies, rain, and wind. Then the rain stops, the sun shines, and the weather warms. That’s what your team’s presence did for us. You brought the good weather.”
1 John 4:9-12 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friend, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”
God’s ultimate demonstration of love toward you and me was His sending Jesus as a sacrifice to take away our sins. That’s as deep a demonstration of love as we’ll ever know. As His followers, it’s our responsibility to share His love with others. Sometimes that requires sacrifice, but sometimes it’s shown in ways that might appear shallow.
Let’s never minimize those “shallow” acts. A kind word, a simple deed motivated by Christ’s love can change a person’s life.
#ShortTermMissions #bgbg2 #ChristianDevotions