I had lunch with a good friend today. The conversation shifted briefly to the idea of whether or not “mission trips” were worth it when weighing out the costs of such an endeavor. We both agreed that they were a valuable tool, and we circled back around to two ideas that seemed to resonate with us. The power of developing relationships seemed to be our common theme, but we were also struck by how deep our presence in other cultures builds into the self-esteem and encouragement of those partnership ministries with whom we serve.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an old saying, but sometimes we capture a picture of a pivotal moment in the life of a friend that speaks volumes in regards to our presence. The picture featured above is one of those moments. It is a very private time, one where we see a friend approaching the end of life who desires nothing more than to have us pray with him as he reflects on his own life and his sorrow filled situation. Many times such prayers with our friends bring tears, but they are not tears of sorrow.
They are tears of hope as we have entered into another’s suffering, and we have allowed God to be our mutual source of encouragement in the deepest time of trial.
There are many ways this plays out each and every day of our lives. Are we practicing the ministry of presence? Are we being Christ, his virtual presence, to a hopeless suffering world? I flipped through various photos today. I saw images of feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, visiting the elderly, providing needed care for the orphans, serving in work projects that would bring a better life to those in need, and the list could go on and on. I do ask myself at times if it is worth it to spend the amount of time and effort we do as a ministry. My answer is, YES!
Look at the picture above. Don’t focus so much on the situation the man is in, but focus on the moment, as in this moment someone has taken the time to pray with him and encourage him.
The ministry of presence is powerful.
Yesterday I received a text from Romania. The message was simple, but it let me know that my presence and the ministry of Remember the Children is valued.
It simply said, “we are waiting with gratitude and thanksgiving for you to come again.”