When #6 was just a tiny girl, she would pray during bedtime prayers that God would give her a baby. Martha LOVED (and still loves) babies. I suggested that maybe we should pray for a husband, first. Oh, Ye, of little faith!
God graciously provided Martha a baby. A couple who were dear friends of ours needed someone to watch their newborn while they were at work and school. Mom or Dad would drop Baby off in the morning; we would get to hold him and love him all day; and then Mom or Dad would pick him up in the evening. On the third day of keeping Baby - after Mom had stopped by, loaded him into the car, and driven off - three-year-old Martha burst into angry tears. "Why does Mrs. S--- keep taking our baby away?!"
"Oh, honey," I explained, "We don't get to keep him. He is Mr. and Mrs. S---'s baby. They just let us have him during the day."
So Martha started praying again. Within a year, Helen joined our family: our very own baby, one we could really keep.
This is a picture of Martha when she first met the baby she had prayed for, the one we could finally keep. That happy face is a reflection of absolute joy! Almost fourteen years later, Martha still loves and delights in her younger sister Helen. They truly are the very best of friends.
Another thing Martha prayed for way back in her childhood was that God would allow her to serve Him through some kind of work in ministry or missions. Over the years, she has looked for opportunities to do just that - whether by loving on the younger children at church, or by helping with music for worship, or by volunteering summers at a camp for local children.
This summer, Martha has an extraordinary opportunity - something of a dream - to serve as a summer intern with the Mission to the World team working in Chiba, Japan. Did you know that Japan has the highest suicide rate in the industrialized world? The MTW Chiba Team understands that Japan's greatest need is Jesus, and they desire to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus with hurting people. As stated on their website, the Chiba team has "covenanted together to pray and work towards a Biblical church planting movement that is ultimately indigenous, spreading from East Tokyo throughout Japan and the world." You can learn more about the MTW Chiba team by visiting their website here.
How will Martha serve this team over the summer? While living with a missionary family and fellow interns in Chiba, she will serve in the mission church, build relationships, share the gospel, teach English and music, and help in any other areas of service God prepares for her. Yes, Mom is a little nervous - Martha is tiny, and Japan is on the opposite side of the world. But Martha - she's absolutely thrilled. I am confident that we will both be growing in our faith through this experience!
Please keep Martha (& Mom!) in your prayers as the date for her departure approaches. Pray also for the team serving in Chiba. And, if you would like to help support Martha financially, the help would be greatly appreciated. Click on MTW's donation website - here - where you can either create an MTW account or make a one-time donation. You'll need Martha's ministry account number: 14064.
I'll post some updates on Martha during the summer. I'm so excited for her - excited to see what she will learn and what opportunities she will have to serve!
3 weeks ago