Diapers, plastic pants and haircuts? Is that all the difference I have made? What am I really here for? Am I making the difference I really want to? The difference God wants me to make?
When I stop and reflect on my first four-year term it seems that the only difference I have made is in teaching one nineteen-year-old girl how to use diapers and plastic pants. She has also learned that it is okay to go against the cultural belief that a baby’s birth hair must be shaved off because it is hair of the womb and is unclean. And there is more!
But, is that what God sent me here to teach? What about the Gospel? Oh, I guess I should not forget the fact that this young girl did accept the Lord through the sewing class that I started during the second year of my first term. I have heard that others are now asking for and using diapers and plastic pants, some of whom warned my friend that her baby would die if she used the foreign things, or at least lose a lot of weight. Then there are others who are also deciding not to shave their baby’s heads.
When I look at the difficulty of working in this extremely oppressive religious culture I must continually remind myself that this is a country where spiritual fruit comes slowly. Seeing the multitudes responding is not what I can expect. It is the daily one-to-one contact, the living “with” the people that is what will change their lives.
Yes, if I stop to look more closely I can see some spiritual fruit that I have been a part of. God has been working, but truthfully, He has been working more in my heart than in the hearts of the people whom I have come to serve. I have heard the saying “Prayer Changes Things.” But I have also heard the saying changed to say, “Prayer Changes People.” The prayers of my supporters are changing MY heart. Maybe mine needs changing first before I can be used as an instrument to change the hearts of others.
Sometimes I forget that I must go through a pruning process to be used more effectively. As I look back at my first four years, I realize that I needed a lot of pruning. There was too much of ME in the way that God needed to cut away in order for me to really make the difference that I want. That God wants. Does it matter really what difference I want to make? What counts is the difference God wants me to make.
“Lord, as I begin this next term, help me to show less of me and to make the difference You want me to make. Continue to prune me for Your purpose. Help me to see the ways that You are using me in my daily life. Thank You for using such an imperfect vessel for Your use.”
M.K.’s favorite Christmas cookie is the Russian Tea Cake. Her favorite carol is “Silent Night”.