Sunday, December 5, 2010

Immanuel: God With Us

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel-which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

This year we have seen God be Immanuel...with us…beside us…all around us. He has never left our side or abandoned us. As Christmas draws near and I hear the name Emmanuel sung in Christmas Carols all over town, I feel as though God is saying over and over…I am with you…I have always been with you and I will always be with you. This year the Dorcas Widows learned to experience God as Immanuel…our closest brother, our tender lover and our most gracious savior.

Last January, we felt battered and bruised as a ministry. We had just lost 3 widows to AIDS…were caring for other sick women and had land that we didn’t have money to develop. Not knowing what else to do, the widows and I spent some hours in prayer. We lifted our hands to God and praised him, glorified him; then we cried, quite literally, out to God asking him to be with us…in all the sickness, in all the poverty, in all the misery. More specifically, we asked Him to keep all the widows safe in 2010…that 2010 would be a year where everyone in our ministry lived to see 2011 as a testimony of God’s goodness and mercy. We prayed for wisdom and financial resources to develop our land. We prayed that those who were the sickest would be made well. Humbly, we called on the name of Jesus…the name above all names…the one who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. Then we stepped boldly into 2010.

Now in December of the same year, I am pleased to say that not one woman has died this year…not one! In miraculous ways, God came down and sat with us…he reached out his healing hand and did what we cried out for him to do. All of us who started 2010 will see 2011. Agnes should have died…she has end stages of AIDS and has cancer of the stomach. I have seen her on death’s doorstep so many times this year, but somehow God continues to do for her what he did for Lazarus so many years ago. Joyce Anywar was barely living in August. Every night I went to sleep expecting the phone to ring…to hear of her passing. Yet, I walked with her down to the market the other day…still HIV positive, but strong and full of life. She knows the only reason she is alive is because Jesus decided to heal her. These are just two of the many…the widows were so sick this year, but death had no power over them. Immanuel was with us.

This year some sizable donations came into our ministry…ones we had not solicited or applied for. They seemed to come direct from God’s hand. These donations allowed us to begin farming our land in Matuuga. We planted maize, cassava, beans and sweet potatoes. The widows have all gotten food from our farm. They were given sweet potatoes last month, maize last week and will get cassava soon. This small little farm is helping to feed 80 widows and their families. The land is no longer idle…God has given us the wisdom to feed our women. In 2011 we are hoping to have enough money to house our women too! Other donations have allowed us to give all the widows beans, porsho and rice to feed their families this Christmas season. The donations also allowed us to give each woman a beautiful Gomesi (traditional dress). As a collection of believers in Jesus, we were able to give each woman a crown of beauty instead of ashes. It was a beautiful sight to behold…truly God’s glory on earth.

So it is with great joy and thanksgiving that we are ending 2010. The Dorcas Widows stand as a testimony of God’s goodness…of his love for his bride. God was with us…our dear sweet Immanuel never left our side and this year we all lived to praise him for it.

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