Being in Nigeria for almost four weeks I have often wondered if we are making a difference here. Will we ever fully know the answer to that question? Before coming here our desire was to come to help out where needed and to serve the people here – whatever that looks like. Now that we are here it seems that what we do is so little because the need here is so great.
A few Fridays ago we handed out a bag of corn and rice along with oil to each family in the Kisayhip Village. We split up into teams and along with a translator we went into everyone’s homes and gave them the elements. We also prayed with them. We told them we were there because we wanted them to know that God loves them. We also wanted to let them know that Back2Back is building a compound close to their village and that our goal is to help them and the community. We will use this future Back2Back compound to host our missionaries and groups that come for a mission trip. We felt it was important to make an impact on the village so they know we are here to serve them.
We know that we made an impact, but will we ever really understand how much? As we left the village to return to our house where we have electricity (sometimes), running water and food, I don’t think we can completely understand without being in their shoes.
I was struggling with questions about what it means to make a difference here until God began to show me that this is not about me. I may never know the extent of our impact but I am to be obedient to the calling on my life. I may never get the warm fuzzies. I may never see the benefits of our labor here. But, that is okay. God has given me peace and God is right, of course, this isn’t about me.
In Isaiah 58 God talks about true fasting. From that scripture, I am learning that God sees our hearts and true intentions. He doesn’t just want one day of fasting, a fasting that is like “Okay, I fasted for a day, I did my duty, and now I’m done.” Our lives are to be lived day in and day out by feeding the hungry, setting free the oppressed, providing shelter for the homeless and clothing the naked. I love the part of the scripture where it talks about what God will do when we fast in such a way. I love it that He goes before me and His glory will be my rear guard. He will answer me when I call and when I do cry out to Him He will say “Here I am”.
We are called to resist the urge to live our lives for ourselves. Yes, God has a plan for my life here and He will grow us personally and as a family. We may never know how much we’re helping, but what I do know is that God is our protector, our healer and he answers us when we call. That is so much better than a warm fuzzy.