Long term. Waiting possible years to see results. May not see results. Relational. Messy. Rewarding. Eternal.
We believe in short-term missions. The short-term mission teams open door of opportunities for us to do long-term ministry. However, most of us would agree that there is something satisfying about numbers at the end of a mission trip. We count how many houses were built, how many food bags were given, how many patients were seen. To be honest, we walk away somewhat proud of the number of things that were accomplished. We feel productive. Long-term ministry is not that easy. We often remind ourselves that discipleship begins around the dinner table. Discipleship is walking through the good and the bad. Discipleship is about building relationships.
We have a young boy who became part of the feeding program about 6 years ago. (Let’s call him “Pablo”). Pablo was abandoned by his father and mother. Pablo is being raised by a grandmother who is not capable of raising a child. Pablo has failed in school. Pablo has been difficult child. Pablo’s family believes he needs to be on the streets shining shoes in order to make a little extra money. Pablo is reminded of how much he is not loved at home. Pablo was recently seen working on the side of a garbage truck. We have to strongly persuade the family to keep Pablo in our school. Pablo’s little heart is very guarded. Pablo has a high wall around his heart.
Yesterday afternoon, our teacher, Shadya, was in my office. She is only allowed to ask me 3 questions each day and she was asking me question #27–LOL. She is the best! Shadya has been part of Grace ministry for 7 years. She has been a constant in Pablo’s life. Shadya said, “Deidra, yesterday as Pablo was leaving he looked at me and said ‘I love you!” Shadya was smiling from ear to ear. My heart jumped for joy. Then Shadya said, “He is starting to change!” Pablo has been part of the feeding center and school for 6 years! Six years! After six years of showing consistent love to Pablo, he mumbled the words “I love you!”
Will you join us in praying for “Pablo”? Pray that God continues to use the love shown towards him to break down barriers. Pray Pablo understands and accepts the love of Christ. Pray that one day we will say “He is changed! He broke the cycle of spiritual darkness!”
If you have ever been part of Grace Ministries, then you are the reason these children are changing. You are the ones showing them love and hope. You are a vital part of breaking the cycle. We are so thankful for you!