St. Paul from Romans 5:1-8 – New International Version of the Bible
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Three years ago, I was sitting in the chapel of First United Methodist Church in Altus during Early Watch Prayer when Sister Ephrance, a beloved missionary nurse from Uganda, shared a text from a young woman, Doreen Mbabazi, from her village in Uganda.
“Sister Ephrance, is there any hope this year?” the message said.
Doreen’s father abandoned their family leaving them homeless and penniless. Without any means of support or shelter, a friend invited them to live with her in her already crowded two-roomed home.
Doreen’s mother gathered firewood and sold bundles of firewood to scrape together a few dollars to help feed herself and her three daughters. Doreen, the first-born, managed to graduate high school as a result of the benevolence of a High School Principal and the courage of Sister Ephrance.
For three years Doreen dreamed of attending Kampala International University, but without funding it proved to be impossible. Undaunted, she regularly checked-in with Sister Ephrance to see if perhaps there was some sponsorship to help her attend university.
While visiting with us in America, Sister Ephrance received another hopeful text and shared it with us in Early Watch. Immediately, I told Sister Ephrance to text Doreen back and to tell her that we served a God of Hope and we would see what we could do to help her attend university.
A few days later, our Sunday morning Life Group committed to sponsor Doreen and her family. For the past three years we have paid her tuition, lodging, fees and living expenses.
Doreen has excelled in her studies and her faith. She has inspired her family and fellow students. She is a spokesperson for Rotary in Uganda and was recently elected as a member of the University Student Council.
We have also been able to send a little extra money over to Doreen to help her family. This has enabled both her sisters to attend school and her mother is managing to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.
Today I received an email from Doreen thanking the Life Group for buying her a laptop so she can do her online classes and turn in her assignments.
It read: “Dear Pastor, Praise God! I received an HP Laptop on 7/18/2017, a laptop bag, and two-hundred-thirty-thousand Uganda Shillings. Thank you so much, that’s the $500 that you had sent for my laptop. Thank you and God bless you! Doreen Mbabazi.”
I am humbled and delighted to be a pipeline of God’s resources and blessing. With Christ there is always hope.
Reach the Rev. David Player, First United Methodist Church senior pastor, at 580-482-0795 or email@example.com.