“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” [Ephesians 3: 20, 21 NRSV]
In 2009, First United Methodist Church in Millersburg departed for a two-part mission to the Philippines. The first leg of the journey was a visit to a small island (about 1 ½ miles long and 1-mile-wide) to share in the celebration of a brand new, safe playground that was built by local trades people with donations from the Millersburg Church and its team. The second part of the mission was a medical mission where the team assisted nurses, dentists and doctors with the medical needs of people on a different and larger island.
As part of the celebration for the playground, there was a program put on by the children (it was the Philippine’s Thanksgiving Day), games were played, food was enjoyed, prayers and praise were lifted and at the end of the program, Mission Central School Kits and Health Kits were distributed.
The children were grateful and excited as they received their School Kits, but nothing could have prepared us for the absolute JOY that the Health Kits provided. It seems that the fashion statement of the time was to tuck a hand towel in the back of the neck of one’s shirt, the newer and more colorful the towel the better. As they opened the kits there was even more excitement because it meant that some of the families who received the kits would have more than one toothbrush to share.
As I have worked, putting together various kits, I have enjoyed praying for those who would receive them and thinking about the comfort, care, relief and even excitement that they might offer. Still, this “God moment” will forever touch my heart and help me to see that even the humblest part of each kit has the potential of bringing the greatest joy. God can take the smallest gift offered in the Lord’s love and multiply the joy beyond what we can even comprehend. Let us continue to give with grateful hearts.
PRAYER: God of love and light, thank You for the opportunity to share in Your great love. May we continue to offer to others the humble hope in all You offer us so that others might experience great joy in You. AMEN.
(Rev. Karen W. Atanasoff, Harrisburg District Superintending Elder and Pastor of Rockville UMC)
May 25, 2016 The Gift of Joy (downloadable .pdf)