Sometimes the smallest actions make a huge difference.
Through the Global Outreach department, our church supports a couple living in a very dangerous place. About 18 months ago they went through one of the most horrific experiences one could imagine. Their young baby died. If that wasn’t bad enough, in this particular country they were not allowed to bury their baby because he was considered an outsider. So our friends were forced to carry their baby around in a cooler for days, looking for a place that would allow them to bury their son. Finally they drove out into the desert and buried their baby. As you can imagine, it was the most difficult experience of their lives.
Later, during their grieving process, they decided to write home to all their supporting churches and families. They poured out their hearts in their monthly newsletter, shared the pain and grief they were going through. They sought prayers and desperately needed some encouragement. Only two people responded to their newsletter. Only 2!
One of those two people brought the issue to my attention. His name is Ona. Ona spent 25 years serving abroad. First in Ethiopia and then in Indonesia. Ona has a unique understanding of what it is like to live abroad and feel very disconnected from your family, friends, and church. Ona has experienced the disappointment of sending out newsletters or prayer updates and getting no response. So years ago Ona decided to do something about it.
So now, nearly every week, Ona comes into the Global Outreach office at Central. He sits and reads every newsletter sent in by the global workers we support. He then prays for every single person, and writes them a loving response.
As I travel around the world visiting our global workers, I am struck by how his simple gesture is making such a big difference. I regularly hear from people how much it means to them that he writes them back and prays for them. They speak of how heart breaking it is to reach out, to share their struggles with their supporters back home, and only hear the sound of crickets. But with his simple gesture, they feel heard. They feel supported.
This week, I am reminded of how the smallest actions can make a huge difference. And I would encourage you this Christmas season to reach out to loved ones. And when you get that end of the year newsletter from people serving overseas, I would encourage you to send a simple reply and let them know you still care. You may never know how much it will mean to them.