The following post is adapted from a presentation given by BWM Board Member Donna Hurt. She has traveled extensively in the Moravian World. Read on to hear about how a chance for prayer has grown new relationships and ministry!
The recent trip to Sierra Leone, West Africa was my fourth opportunity over the last six years to share life with the people in the village of Ngiehun. I now have many dear friends there.
You may have heard of Mohamed and Safie Braima who returned to their homeland in 2006 to share the gospel and begin a Moravian mission. I greatly admire and love those two dedicated Christians, who gave up the easy American life they had enjoyed for 30 years, to go back to their tiny village with no electricity, no cars, no indoor plumbing.
Let’s save talking about all that for another time, because tonight I’ve been asked to tell you an amazing mission story that I’ve found myself in the middle of, a God-story for sure.
It begins in the town of Liberec, Czech Republic, the other place in the Unity that I know lots of Moravians and love to visit. Last fall I took my fourth trip there, to participate in a 4-day conference attended by about 200 Moravian youth.
Sam, Justin, and I had taken a large supply of prayer cards, with multiple copies of 30 different prayer concerns from all over the Moravian Unity. When the time came to hand these out, we asked the young people to assemble in groups with matching prayer cards, to spend time in prayer for whatever need their card described, and then to write a letter of encouragement to that particular province.
Now here’s what I learned about the way people pray in the Czech Republic. First they talk to God, but then they pause to meditate, to listen, in case God chooses to respond right then. Before the evening was over, I was told that one young lady named Hanka had indeed heard God’s voice during her prayer.
In talking with her, I could hardly believe when she said her prayer card had been about Sierra Leone, and that God had told her He wanted to multiply the generosity of those who give to that work. “So,” Hanka said, “I want to give 10,000 crowns.”
Later in working out the details of this gift with the provincial office, I asked how much 10,000 crowns would be. The answer was about $400, which they said would likely be Hanka’s whole month’s paycheck. Can you imagine that! Hanka knew nothing about Sierra Leone, but she listened to God’s voice within her and started the generosity.
This is what she wrote in her personal letter to Mohamed and Safie Braima.
“Everything that we give to God’s work in Sierra Leone, He is going to multiply greatly. Even the smallest things. The Holy Spirit is above all needs and there is His power in people who follow Him, even if they don’t have what they need for living, but still trust Him and rely on His truth.”
Now fast-forward with me to ten days after my return home from Czech Republic. In Lexington, I’d earlier been invited by the pastor at First Presbyterian, who knew of my love for Sierra Leone, to share about that African mission at his church. During that same week, it just so happened that one of the Czech Moravian pastors I knew was visiting in the States, less than an hour away from Lexington.
We arranged to spend a day together, I took him to Old Salem, and while touring I mentioned the Sierra Leone program in a few days. Jan said he’d like to attend, which prompted me to tell him the story of Hanka’s message from God, followed by her amazing generosity.
I explained that my heart was ‘shouting’ — the Presbyterians should hear this story too — but I had so little to tell them about her. All I really knew was her name. And then I could hardly believe what Jan told me, “I know this young lady well; she’s a member of my small congregation.”
Two days later at the church, I first talked about the ministry in Sierra Leone, and then invited Jan to help me tell about Hanka. At the end of the presentation, I gave the Presbyterians an opportunity to be part of the generosity, and they responded. When I got home that night and was able to add up the donations, I was stunned to find … nearly $400. Yes, God was certainly multiplying.
But this story goes on. Fast forward again two months, and listen to the news I received in an email from the provincial office in Liberec, Czech Republic. It seems that the Moravian school in that town wanted to have a Christmas fundraiser to benefit other school children in a very poor area of the world. But they didn’t know where that might be.
When they asked for advice from the provincial leaders, you won’t be surprised that the response was . . . ‘why don’t you consider Sierra Leone.’ By the end of December, the school had raised another 15,000 crowns, or $600, for that West African country.
And now I’m told that throughout 2016 they are going to collect cans to turn in for recycling, so those profits can also be sent to help the Moravian school children in the village. Remember how Hanka said in her note, ‘even the smallest things will be multiplied,’ like maybe recycled cans?
But the story continues. In February I was invited to bring the message for the annual mission Sunday at Midway United Methodist Church in Lexington. For several weeks the congregation had been given the opportunity to make donations to the church in honor or memory of a loved one.
Near the end of the service, I was asked to step forward so they could present that money to me to go to whatever mission I chose. Obviously that choice would be Sierra Leone. Not obvious, however, was the amount. Again I was stunned, just as with the Presbyterians, when I read the figure on the check that said $600.
But we’re not finished yet. Two of my friends from the Czech Republic, Jolana and Ester, attended the Unity Women’s Consultation in Suriname. They were eager to meet Safie because of the new partnership between their Moravian School and her Moravian School. They were also quite happy to give her an envelope containing $2200, including Hanka’s gift and the school collection, plus additional donations from many congregations within the Czech Province.
I don’t know where this story will go next, but tonight it is here at Home Church. Nor do I want to make the mistake of standing in the way of God’s multiplying. Some people have the awesome opportunity of going INTO all the world to proclaim the good news, while others are invited to support them.
If you feel led to be part of the generosity that God spoke to Hanka about, here is a bowl for that purpose. I hope you will want to contribute, helping to verify that Hanka did indeed hear God’s voice, which caused her to respond and gives us the opportunity to do the same.
(NOTE … The Women’s Fellowship Group at Home Church gave another $250 after I shared this story in March)
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