Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: STIR (11/12/15)
- TITLE: Echos of the Heart
By Trudy Newell
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Miss Jane’s body shook, and she dissolved in tears. This was not the first time Miss Jane had broken down in the middle of a sermon on missions.
She prayed, ” Oh Lord, here I go again. A tender heart is one thing but this is ridiculous. Yet, I simply can’t ignore the needs of a dying world. Doesn’t anyone else care? Why didn’t you let me go?”
As a teenager Miss Jane had walked forward to be a missionary. But things hadn’t turned out the way she planned. With complications from polio, no Mission Board back in the sixties would accept her. All her hopes and dreams were crushed.
Her health deteriorated. She was on disability and Medicade long before she turned sixty. Yet her passion for missions, and compassion for those without Christ consumed her.
Stuck in a small town, alone, and with no prospects for the future, she turned to prayer. God had his way of removing all the distractions. In her seventies her health was a huge challenge. A year ago the doctor had informed her that she had diabetes. But her heart was at peace, for she had learned that prayer is where the action is.
Miss Jane loved to read. In 1980 she discovered Operation World, by Patrick Johnstone. Her enthusiasm grew as she devoured the information on various countries. Along with her Bible, it became her constant companion as she would pray around the world. The updates, and newsletters from missionaries fueled her prayers, but this book and a world map put it altogether.
After church she returned home, ate lunch, and took a nap. Now it was time to get out her new edition of Operation World. Even though she printed out information from the CD that went with the book, it was still dog-eared. At least she could take one page at a time and it wasn’t so heavy. She loved the larger print, so much easier on her eyes. The four hours spent praying around the world flew by.
Little did Miss Jane know how God was using her. Without realizing it she touched the lives of many people. Though not young, Miss Jane loved young people. Her warm heart and friendly smile drew them to her. She wasn’t stuck in a rut, and wasn’t afraid of the new. She chuckled at the up-beat music instead of frowning. Sometimes she snuck her hear-aids in her pocket when the music got too loud. It might not be her preferred style of music; but as long as the words rang true to scripture and helped the younger generation worship the Lord, she clapped along with the best of them.
Last year a new family began sitting in front of her. They bonded quickly. Both teenagers sensed at once that Miss Jane accepted them for who they were. Since their grandparents lived on the other side of the country, Miss Jane soon became the ‘resident’ grandmother. JJ and Katie substituted for the grandkids she never had.
Down in her little notebook went the Jackson family. She prayed for Brad and Kim, JJ and Katie every day.
“ Lord, You alone know the challenges and temptations that JJ and Katie face. Please keep Your hand on them. Put a hedge of protection around them from all the evil designs of the enemy.
“Help Brad and Kim. Being parents today is tough. Give them all the wisdom and grace they need to raise these kids in the ways of the Lord.”
Miss Jane prayed for quite some time for the Jackson family. Her burden was intense.
“Lord, speak to JJ and Katie about missions. Give them a passion for the lost.”
Tears streamed down her face. Then she washed her face and chuckled, I wonder if the Lord keeps my tears in a bottle up in heaven?
The next Sunday Pastor Lawrence preached on “What of the Harvest?”
Oh, no. Lord, not again. Once again Miss Jane teared up, and her body shock. But her tears of sorrow were followed by tears of astonishment.
Katie walked down the aisle during the invitation.
After church she hugged Miss Jane and whispered, “I think God wants me to be a missionary.”
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