Thursday, November 27, 2008

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By George: A Great Thanksgiving Story!

I just received a surprising Thanksgiving call ... one which really demonstrates what God can do even with the most inexperienced, unlikely, imperfect people.

Throughout my three years in the Philippines, several members of my Navigators singles group were involved with a neighborhood orphanage. When this orphanage went through hard times, our rag-tag collection of American and Filipino Christians (not one of us over 30 years old) got together and started a new orphanage. We prayed, appointed officers, filed the appropriate paperwork, hired one of our own as the Director, and took in the kids who had fled the old orphanage. The Christian Home of Joy for Children took form.

CHJC had a short and tumultuous lifespan. The Americans all left suddenly in 1991 following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. We argued far too much, planned far too little, missed many opportunities, and failed to follow through with what we'd started. Eventually, most of the kids melted away. Still, God worked through the faith and the faithfulness of those who remained behind, and of some of those who left.

And this brings me to George, who called me this morning.

As the other kids found other places to go and CHJC slowly evaporated, George remained with the Director's family. Under Helen's care he came to know an American missionary, who helped him track down his American father. His father sponsored him into the US, and today he is involved with a ministry in Savannah, Georgia, where he plays in the band and helps the pastor.

Forming CHJC was an impulsive decision by a young, inexperienced small group under extraordinary circumstances. Its brief existence revealed both our faith over the short term, and our immaturity over time. Yet even our weakness served to demonstrate God's strength, as George can testify today.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4)

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