What I Learned at Vacation Bible School

I just returned from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  At our first meeting in preparation for going to the DR, our coordinator asked each team member why we were going on the mission trip. My response was that I wanted to get my hands dirty for Jesus. Well, I sure did that. There were probably 5 minutes out of every day that I didn’t feel dirty and sticky…and it was wonderful!

I worked with the VBS team all week. We focused on the events of Moses’ life by telling his Bible stories and by making crafts. The children were beautiful-they cooperated, and they were patient and creative. I was especially excited when some adults joined in and were coloring and gluing and making their own crafts.

During VBS, I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t speak Spanish. I wanted to cup those sweet children’s faces in my hands and tell them how much Jesus loved them. Thankfully, our interpreter was able to do that for us.

There were only two Spanish words I spoke over and over during the week. The words were gracias which we know means “thank you” and comparte, which I learned means “share.” The children would hand me things and I would say gracias-I would hand them crayons and glue and tell them comparte (share).  Gracias, comparte,  gracias, comparte all week long.

One of the things I love about God is the gentle way he teaches me lessons through everyday circumstances. God showed me in the DR that those two Spanish words, gracias and comparte, are meant to go hand in hand.

Anyone who was on this trip or who has traveled to any third world nation can tell you we are so amazingly blessed in this country. I recognized that I have so much to be thankful for. But God showed me in the DR that being grateful is just the first step-the “gracias” step; the second step, the “comparte” step, is to share.

I heard God saying to my spirit, “I have blessed you financially, thank me and share. I have blessed you with some free time, thank me and reach out to the lonely. I have blessed you with some talents, thank me and share them for my glory.”

Most importantly, I felt God reminding me that I have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and I need to thank him and then share.  Not just in the DR, but here at home too.

Will you join me in the effort? Gracias and comparte.

Hebrews 13:15&16

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Cyndi Word


On The Edge

I was inspired to write this prayer/poem after a particularly busy day in the Emergency Department where I work. I was assigned to the “Assessment/Waiting Room Management area” which is most of those walking in, although many ambulance patients also end up here when there are no beds left in the acute care area, as was the case this past Sunday.  We had a great volume of patients, many of whom were complaining to me about the long wait times, apparently oblivious to the overwhelming numbers of ill people coming into the ER, and unaware that we had 5 nurses call out for this particular shift. Midway through this shift, the other nurse I was working with, had to leave and I was left alone to care for most of the walk-in’s and those reporting “chest pain” requiring timely intervention.  A Physician’s Assistant came in to help the doctor I was working with in this area, but that only doubled my workload as now twice as many patients were being seen in half the time, meaning twice as many patients required blood tests, throat cultures, medications, assessments, treatment, care and discharge instructions.

During the last hour of my shift, having not had a lunch break due to the volume of incoming, and painful feet having run around all of those hours, I found I had exhausted all of my reserves and was “running on empty”.  I responded to patient’s complaints in less than a Christ-like manner, and I felt the grief of that ever since. I wondered aloud, “ Lord Jesus, How did you handle all of the throngs of people making demands upon you? I took the time to pray before going in to work, but what about when I’m in the midst of chaos, demands and complaining? God bless the few who were patient, but the many that were not, were shooting arrows at my reserve tank, and I was draining quickly!”

I do believe that the Lord gives us more than we can handle, contrary to that popular saying insisting otherwise. I believe He does so in order to bring us to the end of ourselves and to yield ourselves in greater measure to Him. I’ve often prayed that the Lord not give us more than we can safely handle in the ER, but these past few weeks demonstrated that sometimes the Lord is allowing more than what we can handle, so that we give Him more of ourselves. So this is the background and genesis of this prayer:

When I come to the end of myself

Let it be Jesus alone that they see

Not the struggling, desperate gasps

and outbursts of a drowning me.

While the fiery darts of the devil

Be launched in my weakest hour

Let Christ assert His presence, His

patience and His power.

I can do nothing in my own strength, my failures

Convince me that this is true

When I come to the end of myself,

Let me draw all of my strength from You.

Deborah Claypool