"A Very Special Prayer"
(By: Helen Roseveare)

This story originates from Helen Roseveare, a missionary from Northern Ireland. TruthOrFiction.com tracked her down and she told us this story is true and that she included it in her book "Living Faith." She has written about the revival that took place in the 1950's in what was then the Belgian Congo. She has been associated with WEC (World Evangelization for Christ at http://www.wec-int.org/index.html).

5-24-2001 SOW Seeds Service of the Church Within - Story #137

Light And Life Garden Retreat Update
        Well... since our last update we've finished installing a Drip-System to water all of the Fruits in the "Faith Garden" segment of the Light And Life Garden Retreat. The Raspberries and Blueberries are on one line, and the Plum, Cherry and Pear trees are on another. Just in the few days since it's been operational I've noticed that all the Fruits seem to be Quite Happy about the new addition to their environment! We will likely not get any fruit from the trees this first year, but at least 10 of our 17 Raspberries are producing flowers already and will likely produce a healthy batch of fresh berries sometime this summer. I'm trying to keep most of the flowers pinched back on the Blueberries this first season to stimulate root and foliage production (as recommended), but we will probably get a fair sampling of fruit from them as well this year.
        Also since our last update, we have made a significant amount of progress on the Pathways that will allow retreaters and visitors to meander around and through the Faith Garden while they pick and enjoy it's Fruits. As the Garden is now enclosed and without Tractor access, this part of the Faith Garden's evolution is a pick, shovel, wheelbarrow and rake job. Thank God for the Jacuzzi!! ;-)
        The Tulip bulbs that we planted back in early Spring are finally flowering and the 128 flower plants that Jill planted a couple of weeks back are doing quite well and many are beginning to put forth their beautiful Blooms as well.
        The Tractor Within is temporarily out of commission until we get enough money to replace: the wheel bearings and bushings for the front wheels (approx. $65.-85. each wheel if I do the work), and two of the hydraulic lines that are beginning to leak pretty badly (about $85.-100. each). It also is going to need a Rear wheel bearing replaced which will cost about $1,000.-1200. (because I don't have the equipment or facilities to do that particular kind of work myself), but I may be able to gently nurse it through the rest of this season if I have to before I'm forced to get it repaired as well. This may sound like a lot of money for upkeep and repairs (and it IS when ya don't have it <G>), but Already in the 7months since you all so Generously got together and contributed the $4,000. we needed to Purchase the Tractor, it has done over $8,000. worth of work (if we had had to pay someone else to do it for us). I can't even Begin to Thank you all Enough for what YOU have already helped to PROVIDE for the building of the Light And Life Garden Retreat!!! Thank You! I Love you All!!!

Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds].

With all the daily landscaping and construction work going on here at the "Garden", The Weekly Story may on occasion come out on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays as is the case this week.

This week's SOW Seeds Story #137, contributed by: Amy Megow

Story of the Week
A Very Special Prayer
(By: Helen Roseveare)

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator. (We had no electricity to run an incubator.)

We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed.

As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

"All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. "Your job is to keep the baby warm."

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon."

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of a corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?"

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen?" I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the verandah, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.

Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas-that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out-yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!" Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted. Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?"

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child-five months before-in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

"Before they call, I will answer!" Isaiah 65:24

Live as if Christ died yesterday, arose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow.

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        The Way and the Means that You use to answer Prayers never ceases to Astound me, and Your Timing is Impeccable (even though I get impatient at times and am seldom able to realize it during the unfolding period). Jesus was SO Good at waiting for "Your Hour" to arrive! Please make me more like him in that way... and in Every Other Way as Well for That matter.
        Thank You Father,
        from Your Child

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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