This picture is definitely worth studying. The numbers and stats here are BEAUTIFUL testimonies to what the Lord did (and continues to do!) in and through the Africa Mercy while she was docked in Pointe Noire, Congo these past 10 months. If you have a few minutes, please read it as an act of worship and thanksgiving (and know that all of the pictures that make up the background are pictures from our time in Congo!)....and of the "countless lives changed", mine was certainly one of them (this is dianna writing, by the way).
In silly ways I know that my life has been changed since we've been serving on the Africa Mercy:
- I have a greater ability to pick out accents and pinpoint people's location of origin
- Never would I ever have willingly eaten fried bananas/plantains from a breakfast buffet
- Lime in my coke is nearly essential now
- There's a deeper creativity being stirred up in me - I've been challenged to look at things in new ways (whether that's beliefs or convictions or pictures or situations. Community stirs up creativity. )
One quick story:
During the last Thursday night Community Meeting of the Field Service, Mae Palmer led us in a time of reflection and sharing about our time in the Congo. She encouraged each of us to think of story or a circumstance or a memory from the Field Service - and to sum it up into one word.
My word: service
The story that goes with the word is almost too simple. It has nothing to do with life-changing surgery or a statistics or anything that would necessarily be recorded or reported (though there are dozens and dozens of those kinds of stories that are beautiful and well worth sharing!).
My story is about a man - one of our officers - who served a pitcher of cold water. A man who was loving on people. He was taking a pitcher of ice cold water to the Congolese men who had brought fuel to be loaded onto our ship. He served them water. He refreshed them. And I happened to look out the window at just the right moment to be a witness to this act of worship. God knew my heart needed that tangible representation of Him.
So maybe the word could have been beautiful. or worship. or, had we been allowed a phrase, "unto Me."
This fellow crew member was living out the Scripture recorded in Matthew 25:37-40
And it affected me greatly.
So much so that it wins the prize for "My Favorite Moment in Congo." A moment of seeing someone love like Jesus loves....serving...giving...blessing - with no strings attached or hidden agenda or ulterior motive.
I told this officer about how what he did really blessed me...he just shrugged it off as no big deal - he saw it as the normal, natural thing to do - bring water to guys who are working hard on a hot day. Maybe that's what loving others truly looks like...
At another gathering, a sweet lady named Anne shared about how sometimes people aren't even aware that what they are doing is helping point her to Jesus and direct her thoughts to God.
This all ties into what the Lord has been trying to hammer into my heart and mind (ever so gently, as He is so patient).
He continues to say "Walk with me, Dianna. Be who I've made you to be. Do what I've called you to do. Love others. Don't think about results or what difference you are (or aren't) making. Just be with Me and let Me be with you."
...and I suppose we're not meant to know.
Surely there will be more to come.