Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:2
We are commanded to praise, give thanks, sing joyfully, and exalt HIS name! This in theory is easily stated, but at times the when the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Often overcome by worries of why we lose ministry partners, stressed from daily activities, physical fatigue, and chronic pain, it is during these times that we take may take our eyes off of the Lord, our provider and sustainer. Speaking for myself, when that happens, the Lord does something or allows something to occur in my life where HE gets me re-focused.
Sometimes I share a teaching experience from the past, but today I am sharing a teaching experience from yesterday. I was invited by another ministry to join them for the day to see their ministry because they are in need of someone to help them work with children as well as teach about Hygiene and Sanitation. Well, that is my specialty!
I was forewarned that there would not be bathrooms or outhouses in the villages and that the water was so contaminated that I could not use any of the village water to wash my hands. What I saw was mountain water that was piped and flowed into a four inch deep stream that was about 10 feet long. There was a rock near the pipes where the village people sit to take their baths. Pilas, “cement shallow sinks with drainage holes”, were nearby for the people to wash their dirty clothes. The dirty water drains into the ground and ultimately back into the stream. The villagers and particularly children when they come to draw drinking water from the pipes, use the surrounding areas to go to the bathroom. This with the water from washing the dirty clothes drains into the only water source that the village has. The people suffer from constant diarrhea and many illnesses because of the lack of sanitation and the lack of knowledge of sanitation.
While visiting one of the village schools, I waded through sewage water to use a broken toilet that was behind a closed door. The contaminated water ran onto the floor and out the door being absorbed into the nearby soil. Once again contaminating the soil from whence their water source comes. However, it was at this moment that I gave thanks! I did not have to go to the bathroom behind a tree or out in the open as the villagers do on a daily basis.
On the trip back to the mission house, my mind was focused on the events of the day. My heart over-flowed with thanksgiving! God has blessed me bathrooms behind closed doors, water to bathe, the ability to purchase purified water to drink, electricity, transportation, a comfortable home, a 20-something year old washing machine that works, fans, prayer and ministry partners! And then last but not least, the Word of God in my language with the ability to read and understand HIS word. All those that I saw yesterday, had none of these blessings, including the adults who could not read or write.
As I laid my head down for the night and prayed. I did not ask God for anything or make petitions known. Like counting sheep, I counted my blessings one by one and gave thanks for everything I could think of until I drifted off to sleep with a grateful heart full of thanksgiving!
And the journey continues…