By Miranda Robinson
I always leave for a mission trip with an idea of why I am going or what purpose or task I am going to accomplish. It might be just a small and vague idea, but I am the type of person that has to have a plan. God has a habit of working completely out of the realm of what I can comprehend, and He never fails to blow my mind when I discover all of the many facets of the plan He has for me during a trip.
On my recent trip to East Asia I had some ideas about what I was going to do there. My primary reason for being there was to love on some really awesome missionary kids whose parents were at a conference. I met these kids last year when I was on the same trip and I could not wait to see them again. We had a great VBS style weekend together and my heart grew even fonder of those sweet children who are far more mature than their years.
Just as the weekend was about to draw to a close, and I thought the first half of my mission was complete, I saw a face that was vaguely familiar looking through the window. I went outside to see if she needed something. She introduced herself and told me that she remembered me from last year. Our conversation from the previous year flashed across my mind and I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open. She was a teacher at the school we were at and she had come up to me that year and asked me why I was there. I was very nervous to give any details of why I was there and so I gave her a general answer and tried to change the subject. Then she asked me again in a little different way. She wanted to know why I would come all the way from America just to take care of some kids. I told her I was there because I loved these kids and because God loved me first and I want to share His love when I can. She seemed pleased with the answer, but I could tell it didn't really satisfy her. I felt a little guilty about that conversation when I left because I knew God was giving me a chance to share more with her and I dropped the ball.
When she appeared and I realized who she was, I was humbled to know that God understood and was willing to give me another chance. I handed off my responsibility with the kids so I could talk with her for a while. When I asked her how she was doing, and she said not so good, I knew that I was definitely not letting this opportunity go this time. I took her to a quiet room where we could talk. She opened up her heart and shared her struggles with me. She was very lonely and she was struggling in her walk with the Lord. She wanted to know what she was supposed to be doing. She told me that she was trying hard to do what God wanted her to do, but she just didn't know what the rules were. She felt like everything she did was wrong because the people around her made her feel like she was wrong. She didn't have a fellowship of believers that she could meet with and grow with.
I was able to reassure her that God's gift of salvation is absolutely free and there is nothing we can do to deserve it because of God's grace. I emphasized that once we have it, there is nothing we can do to to lose it. I talked to her about the importance of Bible study, personal prayer time and I promised to connect her with a fellowship of believers in her area. I was able to use some of my life experiences to encourage her and teach her. I was able to hold her hands and pray with her as tears rolled down both of our faces. I knew that this was probably one of the few times that anybody had ever prayed with her and for her, and she knew that someone cared.
I mentioned later how pretty it was outside that day. She looked at me and said, “I've never noticed how pretty it is here. Thank you for showing me that.” This sweet lady now sees joy and grace when she looks at her world, instead of confusion. By the way, it just so happens that in her language, her name means “the King's Grace.” Seeing her again was a reminder for me about what is important in our lives. We must remember to never get so lost in our plans and projects that we fail to see the opportunities that God will place before us. May we continually look for more opportunities like this in our daily life to tell about our King's grace.