contributed by Paula Hemphill
I think the most beautiful thing about the CA ministry is actually not the work we do out in the field. Rather, I think the most beautiful thing about the CA ministry is the work our ever-loving King Jesus does to us. He shapes and molds and shows us the very essence of His kindness toward the world. He reminds us that He is love. He is love for the good, for the bad, for the jaded, for the evil. He is love and He has breathed us out into the world to share that love with those around us. I know He has taught me over and over and over again that this ministry was never about numbers, but instead it is about the people He puts in front of me and the stories their hearts tell. It's so easy to feel beaten down when a picture folder expires or when a friend says no, but I continue to rest in the beautiful truth that God knew that folder would expire and He knew that friend would say no, but in His kindness He still gave that folder and that ask to me. And now, like a perfectly painted canvas, the strokes of those stories-- however brief-- are a part of the masterpiece He's making out of my life. This is what He has taught me as I've walked out this journey for the last 7 years.
Which got me wondering... what has He taught some of our other long-time CAs and leadership team members? Because what if we've all caught a slightly difference glimpse of His glory? How beautiful would it be to see the full view of what God is teaching each one of us in this ministry?
So today I am deeply honored to steward and share the words and heart of some of my dearest friends in the world. It is humbling to get to call these people my friends and family. And I think you will feel that same awe after reading these words.
But it makes sense when I think about it now-- because this is who Jesus is. He always tries to get His disciples and people around Him to see beyond the surface. See beyond the physical. To go deeper. This journey has been a journey of learning to walk more closely with Jesus. To get to know His heart more each day. What an honor it is to be in God's hands-- being shaped, broken, comforted, encouraged, and molded by the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE.
I praise our Sovereign Lord for bringing me to this organization & this calling! My story with World Vision is His story and I pray that at conference, when I share with you more of what He has done these 4 years-- that all you see is HIM! We are simply clay in His hands! HE is the potter. He has brought you to this ministry for a most beautiful purpose-- children and communities will be forever impacted because of YOUR obedience to Him! AND along the way He also wants to draw you nearer to His heart and change YOUR life! I know if He can take a scaredy-cat like me and bring me closer every day to being the wild lioness He has called me to be that He will do it for you, too! - Randi Rooks
What!? Utterly mind-boggling.
Then, He went about healing the sick, raising the dead clear out of their graves, inspiring others to walk on water with Him, and dying a sinners death. At it's core, Jesus' ministry is categorized by how He cared for the unwanted. The people who were without value to their society. He came to the hopeless.
It reminds me of the countless stories of athletes who get their first professional contract only to invest it back into their mother's' new home, or the community center that provided shelter in their adolescent years. Jesus went to the people who reminded Him most of Himself. As I read the Gospels, it is more clear than ever, that Jesus was compelled to act on behalf of those who, like Him, would not have a shot at something greater had He not come along. John tells us that in Jesus was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness. How else would we know that Jesus is life and light except we experience Him working in death & darkness? This is where Jesus hung out. His stomping grounds were not a neighborhood, they were the places that were plagued by death & darkness. He went into those places, and brought life and light.
I have a secret to share with you all. I'm a sinner. Yup, I've sinned against God in more ways than I care to share. I've been in some pretty dark places, deathly kind of places. I have never been so confronted with my own need for His love & mercy as when I am with the 'unwanted.' Forgiveness is a heavy cross to carry when, as a sinner, you have to watch an innocent man carry it. The unwanted cannot comprehend grace. Feelings of undeservedness come flooding in. The unwanted believe that they might be able to get themselves out of the mess they've made because they made it. Then Jesus comes along and tells us that he knows what it's like to feel unwanted. He knows what it's like to carry so much sin that His father looks away while He hangs on a cross. He knows. His knowing leads us to surrender and compels us to respond.
Today darkness and death still loom. The people enslaved by it think that somehow they've deserved it. The work we do, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is bringing life and light. It is bringing the unwanted the needed love & grace to move toward a more abundant life. I know that Jesus is proud of the work we do, because it is the work He did. - Javy Diaz
I have also learned that I am not like Him. I tend to stereotype and prejudge people before I ever get their story. But God's work of transformation in my heart is very real. Because every person is in a different place in their journey and transformation I feel like this brokenness for the unloved and unwanted tends to set me apart into a lonely place. That is why I love this ministry. I have found a place of sweet fellowship in the gospel work of compassion for the neediest on earth. I love Child Ambassadors. - Wendy Hemphill
As I progressed and opened my heart, so did my pastor husband, then our congregation, family, and many of our friends. Heart expansion is obviously catching.
Do I still rely on my source of strength verses? Absolutely! Do I still feel paralyzed at times! Yes, again. So what is the difference? Well, I have learned to concentrate more on God’s heart and less on mine, and this personal growth is due to my Child Ambassador/World Vision experiences. - Jeanne Bennett
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.