The Power of a Visit

A team of 21 A team of 21 "visited" us and the orphanages for Russian Christmas.

March 2007 ? Ann

 

Since attending the Children-At-Risk conference last fall I?ve often thought about an idea that one of the speakers shared.  She was referring to James 1:27 ? ?This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.?

 

Sometimes short term mission trips get a bad rap.  Now that we have been on both sides of the equation = going on short term trips for 10 years and now living here in Russia full time we have a little more perspective.  There is something very valuable about being ?in-country? long term and developing deeper, long-lasting relationships.  But when I think back we didn?t get here overnight.  For us it started with ?visiting?.

 

And that?s what God asks of us.  To ?visit? the orphans and widows in their distress.  Like my friend pointed out, ? the operative word is visit.  The verse in James doesn?t say ?fix their circumstances, share the Gospel, bring money, rescue or adopt them (even though those are all worthy things).  The verse says VISIT.?

 

Maybe the first step is just to show-up and let God do the rest.  I know that has been the battle cry of John Maisel, the founder and president of East-West Ministries.  And that?s certainly how it started for us.  We just ?showed up? and God shows up and then people are ministered to ? in ways we may not even be aware.

 

When I look back in my own life personally I am realizing the impact ?visits? had on me.  When I was four and five my grandmother lived in the apartment above the garage behind our house.   Oh, what a treat for me to climb the big, steep steps leading up to Nonnie?s door and being greeted by someone who had all the time in the world for me.

 

And then when our family moved away to Texas, I couldn?t wait until it was our turn to have Nonnie come and visit at our house.  Of course her stay was never long enough but each one was a precious message of love.

 

And when I was in grade school, after my father died, my Uncle Bobo, my mom?s brother, would come to visit and stay for a few days or sometimes longer.  I think part of his motivation was to encourage and support his ?baby sister? who was now widowed with four children.  We all adored him and he played a significant role model in all of our lives of what a loving, fun man looked like.

 

What a privilege some 10 ? 15 years later for me to get to visit my Uncle Bobo when he was in ill health and in a nursing home.  To be able to love him back like he had loved me for all those years - what a gift those visits were for both of us.

 

As recently as this past Christmas, when Vicki Mullins brought the American team to Voronezh to work with ?our kids? in the Transition Center and minister in some local orphanages they also spent time with us and poured into our lives.  What a huge blessing that was for us to share our home, our lives, our kids with them, and to be energized by their ?visit?.

 

There is power in a simple visit.  That?s part of the beauty of Christ - simple, yet powerful.