Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I have always been struck by the story of the widows mite. Here is a lady who literally had very little, and gave it all. She left herself nothing to go on. There was no money left for food, rent, or any sort of pleasurable extras. She gave all she had.

There are few stories that parallel this kind of giving in Scripture, with exception of Christ Himself.

Most of us find the need to hang on to our perception of what little we have, as we will surely need it for a day in the future, when the 'wheels come off our wagon.' After all, it is prudent to save. It is not a bad idea to have money for emergencies.

When I was in Africa this past summer, I found it unbelievable that the people we worked with who knew nothing of Jesus or His saving grace, knew more about giving than we did.

One day, we sent out our team to prayer walk the village. They were broken into teams of four or five, and they headed out. Upon their departure, the leadership gathered to take care of some detail work we had not had time to tend to.

Later, all of the teams had returned but one. The homes in this part of Africa all had accessible roofs. I went up to the roof of the home we were in to watch for our team. The home was on a ridge top, so my view was excellent.

Down the dirt path (they called it a road), in the distance, I saw the dust rising from their footsteps. There seemed to be joy in their body language. I could not wait to hear from them.

Upon their return, they proceeded to tell us a story of giving. They were walking this section of the village on the outskirts, where we had not visited before. One of them was drawn to a particular area, so they went. When they arrived, they stood for a moment or two and prayed. As they began to move on, people emerged from a home, and began to speak to them.

They did not speak English, and our team did not speak Arabic, French or any other language they knew. Communication happened through gesturing, with bits of sentences being understood from our weeks in the country.

They were being invited in for tea and lunch. Our team knew lunch was waiting for them (pb&j that we call squeezers) back at the house. They decided the right thing to do was to oblige this kind gesture. Armed with the knowledge that these peoples view of us comes from American television shows aired in their country, they rightfully set out to dispel that paradigm, and try to build relationships.

They were treated to tea and a meal, not offered in any of the local cafe's. They had an incredible time of fellowship. They smiled and laughed together.

Our team returned with their appetites relieved, and a renewed joy in their dispositions. This group of students had been extended a courtesy that is common in this Muslim nation. They were invited into a little shack of a home to join into a time of feasting, with all that these people had to eat.

As the widow gave her mite, these Berber Muslims gave from their poverty.

Our team was very moved by this gesture. In fact, we found that in general, this people group would extend friendship and courtesies to us as foreigners, that we Americans would never extend to them when they visit our country.

I had to sit an reflect on the thought that I have never started a conversation, while in the US, with someone I easily recognized as Muslim. If I wasn't willing to start a conversation, how was I ever going to invite them to my home for a meal. How could I possibly build a relationship with someone who needs Jesus, if I was not willing to give from my "apparent wealth."

Giving is an attitude of the heart. There is no expectation of receiving, from a true giver. I am not a very good giver.

I am so humbled when the lessons the Lord teaches me, come from the lost.


Lauren is sharing her journey in Chapel at IWU this morning. She is doing so before the entire student body in two separate Chapel services. The start times for them are 10:10AM, and 11:20 AM. Please lift up the hearers of the Word.


At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had written you before that our family had been missionaries in the Philippines for 5 years. I understand accepting their hospitality. We went into areas where they had absolutely nothing, but they always had something to offer us. They took us in and we were able to share Jesus with them. I learned "hospitality" from them. However, I also learned about giving from the heart and not out of obligation. That's what they did. Even though they may not have been believers at the time, they still gave from their hearts. I won't tell you what the snack was all the time, but we graciously accepted it. By doing that, they accepted us and many times, JESUS. It is so wonderful to read what you write each day. Please never quit! God bless you. Leah Pinnick

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Kim Mierau said...

lauren was so incredible speaking today. it is so awesome to see the hand of God and his grace and healing so evident in your family. she gave such a beautiful depiction of Christ through BJ's life. i love you all so much *kim

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for round 2

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mom and dad--

i miss you guys! i cant wait to see you soon! tell lauren i'm praying. i know the Lord is going to use her...b/c He already has in such significant ways!

love y'all! ( southernness coming out!)
praying always..

At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that God used Lauren to speak to the students... I was praying!
Man, what a story. And it's so true how we are so un-giving and not very hospitable. It definately convicted me! Thanks for sharing!
Love and prayers!

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chapel this mourning hit me at IWU. I started to cry even before I heard that BJ died. How could someone love Christ like he did? It amazes me to the point that I feel weak and fall to my knees. I love the story and if I would have went to the 10 o'clock chapel and heard it, I would have stayed through the 11'oclock one as well. It was amazing. I could connect in some ways of a younger brother going on a mission trip because that summer of 2005, my brother and I went on a mission trip to New York. It was amazing and I saw my brother grow so much from that trip. I will continue to pray for your family. May God bless.

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, Deanna,
It has been a long time since I have posted. The computer I would normally check the posts on, is unable to allow me to check the site on anymore. I finally decided that while on the computer here at home I would see how things are going. You and your family is on our mind quite often. In fact, yesterday, we attended the funeral of my grandmother. She was 95. She lived a long, good life. And as we approached the church for the funeral, Mercy Me came on, singing "I would die for you." Becky responded quickly how amazing it was for this song to come on at this time.
A quick story about my grandmother, that I think you would appreciate. Her pastor shared this, and I sat remembering this story as well as many others. My Grandma had travelled many times, to many countries, and multiple trips to the "Holy Land." On one trip, she was babtized in the sea of Galilee. Her pastor, My Grandma, and a few others had awaken at 3:00a.m. to go to the sea for the baptism. We all had to laugh, as her pastor shared that following this baptism, her's became the second most famous baptism in this this sea, since the history of the world! As he told this story, I remembered her telling this story, over and over through the years. She was so proud that she could have been baptized in the very spot (As close as possible anyway) The Jesus, himself would have been.
I think of you all often, daily would not be an understatement. We miss you all and pray for you all frequently. I hope all is going well. As you can imagine, the family is growing and staying very busy. I hope to see you all again, real soon.
Brent Give Deanna a hug from us, and Deanna Give Brent a Hug From us too. (I miss your hugs....They are very special to me, as both of you are too!)
Take Care!
Your Friend, and Brother in Christ!

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey from another student at IWU! I just wanted to let you know that after hearing B.J.'s story this morning, I almost immediately felt different. Just hearing Lauren describe the way he loved God really got to me. I'm still not sure what happened, but afterward I just sat down at my computer and started typing, and before I knew it I had 5 pages of straight emotion on the screen. The funny thing is, for about the first 2 or 3 pages I don't remember thinking at all. All I remember is looking from my hands to the screen and back, and when I read the whole thing after I was done, I couldn't remember when, why, or how I thought about what I had written. But, I just wanted you to know that I had a major God experience from the story I heard, and I can already feel myself changing through it. Thanks for sharing!J.D.S.

At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wow! Prayers were certainly answered through Lauren this morning. I'm continuously blown away by the way the Lord is using the story of bj to change the lives of so many. It makes me so excited!

Thank you for lunch and renewal yesterday. It was a blessing to get to spend time with you and talk to you. Have an incredible rest of the week. You are always in my prayers, but even moreso now as you are seeking discernment in so many big areas. Good luck with the house hunt. Love ya!

Your sister in Christ,

Katie Kyle

At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm an IWU student...I just wanted to say thank you to Lauren for her willingness to speak to us about BJ today. I can't even imagine how hard that must've been. I've heard a lot of chapels in my three years at IWU, but few have affected me the way today's did. Tears came to my eyes. BJ saw the big picture, and he saw it clearly. Our time is limited here, and as Christians, we can't afford to sit back and watch it tick by. He understood that and he actually did something about it. His quote about being willing to get uncomfortable for Christ really hit me as I left chapel...and that's something I know I need to hold onto and remind myself of daily. Thanks for sharing! Take care and God bless.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God for using Lauren to touch so many hearts at IWU. There is a stirring.....

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great chapel!! Thank you!

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His love is amazing....steady and unchanging....His love carries me!

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