“How many of you like cricket?” I asked a class of beaming slum kids in Chennai, India, last month. Every hand shot up.
“In my country we play cricket too, but our national team isn’t usually as good as yours,” I told them. The guide duly translated my words into Tamil.
“But,” I hastened to add, “we’re very good at rugby.”
Unhelpful comment. They all looked at me blankly. None of these children had heard of rugby.
I was visiting the Bethany school, one of the diverse ministries of the Christian Missions Charitable Trust that was set up by a New Zealand Brethen missionary, Colleen Redit, about 40 years ago.
Each of the poor children who are being educated at Bethany School today receive a free uniform (a brightly coloured shirt), school bag, shoes, socks, exercise books, a ride to school and a hot lunch. For most of them, it’s their only meal of the day. But now they have a future.
The work began simply enough. Back in 1967, after language learning, Colleen used her garage to teach cross-stitch to a destitute teenage girl. Later others joined her.
Colleen, a kindergarten teacher from Wanganui, is one of those “normal” women I’ve talked about before. She committed her life to Jesus at the age of 14 and basically said, “Use me, Lord!” If you were to ask her how that original handicraft class developed over four decades into 14 diverse social ministries, she would tell you it’s all about faith and trust in God.
“God’s work done in his way never lacks his supply,” she says.
Colleen knows what it is to pray when needs arise and to see God meet those needs in miraculous ways.
Like Colleen, we have all experienced the effects of prayer. For some of us it has been life-changing. Others who have embarked on the journey more recently may only just be starting to discover its power.
Baptist women around the world will be gathering early in November to pray for one another and their various ministries. It’s not too early to start planning a Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer in your church. Full resources are available from bwuswp.com and if you need a speaker we could help with that too.
Who knows what God might do through the women we pray for?