Shrink or Grow

From Ronda Harris

Some things in life are just simple; it is our head knowledge that can complicate things.  To go on a mission trip half way around the world people would tell you to be prayed up and I would agree with them.  However, that is not how I went on my mission trip.  To say that 2014 was a rough year for me would be an understatement.  My husband and I within 6 months of each other lost our mothers, one to heart disease the other to cancer.  Both our mothers were young, both were heavily prayed for, both were supposed to live.  But that is not what happened.  So 2014 has been a spiritually depleted and emotionally depleted year for me. 

With the understanding of how my year had been, I am not sure why I agreed to go to Africa when the option came up, but I felt I had to go, I was excited to go; maybe I just needed a change of pace.  Once in country the idea of VBS began to weigh on me, I quickly assigned out the bible story portion to two of my team members  as well as the daily devotions hoping to hide just how depleted I was; after all I work at a Faith Based Non-profit ministry, I should not be spiritually depleted.   I took the task of crafts, and off our team went to minister to the 400 children at Bright Hope Academy. 

ethiopia-classroom

During our rotation at one point my team overlapped with the bible story team and we found ourselves in the same classroom.   I listened as they shared the story of Jesus birth and how it was not clean or pretty, but it was dirty and how we was born into the worse of circumstances, but he had and was joy.  I know the children could relate, because their circumstances were similar.  Then Lianna and Tayler lead the children in a new song. It was a simple and cute song with fun hand motions for the kids – “read your bible, pray every day, pray every day, pray every day; read your bible pray every day and you’ll grow,  grow, grow”.  The kids loved the song and picked up on it quickly.  The next verse is the one I have not been able to shake – “don’t read your bible, don’t pray every day and you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink”.  I did not know at the time how that part of the verse would stick with me.   At lunch that afternoon, Tegis, our in country partner, shared how spiritually true the little song was. If you don’t read your bible and you don’t pray every day, your spirit within you begins to shrink, shrink, shrink.  This is exactly where I have been since losing my mom.  I have been in a fog or not reading, not really praying and definitely shrinking. 

As a mom I often pray for God to remind my children of the religion of their youth, in other words for them to remember God and that they grew up with a knowledge of who he was and what it means to serve him.  In Africa, God did that for me.  He reminded me of the God of my youth, of the simplicity of serving Christ and others, and he reminded me to read my bible and pray every day so I can grow, grow, grow. 

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