“Each man should give what he had decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
The apostle Paul wrote this to the believers in Corinth to encourage them to make generous financial offerings. In Tarapoto last month, I was privileged to serve with 24 people who also gave generously of their time. None of them came reluctantly or under compulsion, rather they had decided in their hearts to follow God’s calling to serve the people of Tarapoto.
At our daily team meetings, we ask the team to share “God Moments,” times when they saw God at work in the previous day.
One such moment came on Sunday while worshipping with our host church. During the service, many of the young people spontaneously went to the front of the church to dance joyfully as they worshipped. One boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, was overcome by emotion and fell to his knees crying and praying. Chris Meyer, an encourager, and wonderful prayer warrior, saw this and joined the boy on the floor. Chris embraced the boy and prayed with him, so overcome that he himself began to cry as well.
We had several His Healing Hands veterans on this trip. The husband-and-wife team of Mike & Jacquelyn Jangaard, gifted in administration and teaching, gave me “God Moments” everyday with their willingness to step in and teach our newer team members how to effectively screen patients for glasses. Their willingness to humbly serve in this capacity was a joy for me to watch. Once the glasses area was running smoothly, Mike began ministering to the local community by taking food to them, sometimes journeying many miles on the back of a motorcycle to do so. Each time he returned from one of these forays, he was glowing!
Paul goes on to say this in 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” This result was evident to me during our week of service in Tarapoto. Because these 24 people cheerfully gave generously of their time, God made grace abound in them and they, in turn, abounded in every good work during their time in Tarapoto.
Sara, came in at the last day and was the last person I would see in the clinic. She came in with her head down and her hair falling, covering her face. As I welcomed her and touched her hand, while I talked, I could feel the helplessness and sadness she felt. I had to ask questions to get anything out of her so she would respond to me. She responded, “Yes” to allowing me to share the story of Jesus and “yes” to prayer. So, I used the Evang-a-cube to share the story and then we asked if she wanted to accept Jesus. She said yes! I brought over one of the local church members so they could pray with her in Spanish.
I felt she needed more prayer as she remained with her head looking down. God led me through her quietness, and I talked to her about our heavenly father. My interpreter interrupted me to tell me Sara told her she had lost her farther 5 months ago. Sara is only 13 years old and in so much agony, then her father died. I continued to tell her about our heavenly father and how he loves her more than anyone ever could. I told her God made her with a purpose and knows every hair on her head. God will guide her through the sadness and love her no matter what!
As she was leaving, the church member who had prayed with her, told me she had planned on ending her life, but now her heart was full of the love of Jesus, and she can carry on.
A Night in Tarapoto
A poem by Sevy Chavez
The night was young, the air and the music moisture-laden
as we stepped into that church expecting to see God
Uplifting music, but the words were foreign
For us the message was translated
We knew, then and there,
that we were on
a mission field.
Being unaware of what to truly expect,
we were called forward—why, oh why?
Chairs were lined in a straight row.
What, oh what, did that mean?
Our host prayed, we prayed,
then a line of disciples
Each carrying anointing oil, a towel. a pan
with heads down—they were looking down
What, oh what, did this really mean?
No one there was being baptized!
But—it meant the same thing…
We just needed a little cleaning.
Tearfully, they washed our feet
and caressed them with oil.
Humbly, becoming Jesus
to us—before our