“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.” Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!” At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.” ― Loren Eiseley
This story was retold by our mission team director during our recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Sheila challenged us to look for our “starfish moment.”
While at the mission work site, Scot approached me and asked if I would go with him to visit a teen’s home. Esmeralda proudly led us to her humble, yet lovely home. I was overcome with awe as we entered the home and greeted by four women, Esmeralda’s mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-aunt. Three of the women sat in beautifully hand-crafted rocking chairs. I quickly noticed a Bible lying on a shelf and asked Scot to hand it to me. I had hoped to read Scripture until Scot said, “Isn’t that a Spanish Bible?” Everyone smiled, and then the ladies all began singing hymns. After basking in the Lord’s presence for several moments, the women took us back outside to see their beautiful tropical garden. They were all extremely proud of a starfish-shaped blossom that had recently bloomed. This was definitely my starfish moment! With a simple invitation to visit her home, Esmeralda made a difference in my life. And out of all the other team members Scot could have asked to join him, he invited me.
This mission trip memory along with so many others will forever remind me of God’s amazing love for me and for each person He has created.
Intentionally Passing Down Your Faith in Christ –
Parents, grandparents, take time to challenge your children/grandchildren to look for God in the everyday moments of life. God makes Himself known to us. “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:19-20 NLT).
Encourage your children to tell about their God-moments (starfish moments) at the end of each day. This will help build their faith in the One True God.
So excited about our upcoming mission trip to the Dominican Republic! Only six weeks away.
My granddaughter, Ella (11 years), and I will embark on our very first mission trip together. I’ve had a desire to go on a mission trip for some time; and about two years ago, I felt that God was directing me to pursue this opportunity with Ella.
This first blog entry will detail the beginning stages of our journey. (The complete story is written in the Memory Album I made for Ella.)
Two summers ago, Ella and I met an amazing woman named Sheila at children’s camp. Sheila was one of the camp nurses and I was a camp counselor for several children, including Ella. During our time at camp, I was sadly coming to terms that my husband/pastor would be resigning as pastor of the church where we had served for 7 years. Sheila made her way over to our table and began a conversation with me. Not having anyone else to share my sorrow and uncertainty with, I began to tell Sheila of my heartache. I told her that we would be looking for a church to worship at in the near future. Without any hesitation, Sheila extended a loving invitation to visit her church, Living Hope Church of the Nazarene. After putting my mind to rest, I realized that this was the church our daughter attended during her college days.
Sure enough, we visited Living Hope Church, and reconnected with Sheila. Little did I know at the time, Sheila and her husband, Dan are Work & Witness Coordinators and were planning a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Wow! I thought this may be one of the reasons God brought us to LHC. Since we were in transition, I didn’t feel the timing was right to join up with Team Xtreme for their 2nd trip to the Dominican.
A year later, Team Xtreme, the mission team from LHC is planning their 3rd trip to SanJuan de la Maguana Dominican Republic, to complete the children’s center, that will feed, educate, provide medical/dental care to 500 kids each week, and serve as their place of worship.
Ella and I attended the first informational gathering at Sheila’s home, where we saw hundreds of pictures of their past trips to the Dominican and heard the testimonies of those who have gone before. The mission team had ministered love in the Name of Jesus to hundreds of children and worked on the building project. After driving home from the meeting, I asked Ella what she thought about going on the mission trip. She said, “Yes!, but how are we going to raise $14,000 each?” I had to chuckle a little, because the actual cost per person for travel/expense is $1,400. From this point on, we have never looked back. God is on the move, providing for us to take this journey of faith to the Dominican with 28 other devoted followers of Christ (Team Xtreme).
Please join us in prayer, as we prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies, to be Christ’s ambassadors to those who need His love and grace in the Dominican.
Over the past several years, I've blogged about my greatest passion--intentionally passing my faith in Christ to the next generation, beginning with my family.
I've been married to Jeff forever! We love spending time with our three children, six grandchildren, two son-in-laws, and our dog, Pepper.
Jeff and I gratefully serve as Pastor and wife at St. Paul's Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO; where people love God and each other.
Holding His Hand, my newest blog (2016) is dedicated to my mom, Audrey Lewis, who learned to trust in Jesus during her battle with cancer.