Women’s online Bible study based on the book Read the Bible For Life by George Guthrie, we are discussing week eight in small groups this week. Join us as we discuss the Letters and Revelation. Below is an update from Missionary Mom and Ministry Leader Stasis Nielsen as she shares her own experiences bringing the Bible to others. These are her words:
I labored in prayer for this. It was my greatest desire ever since the moment that I rocked that precious little baby with a broken femur in my arms over 3 decades ago in a tiny Mexican orphanage. I wanted to hold them, love them and pray over their lives. Everyone needs a momma’s prayers, and I believed that no one deserved those prayers more than the brave little souls who were left unnamed and unloved in the trash heaps of the world.
Be careful what you pray for, or rather, be prepared for what you pray for.
Often times those prayers birthed out of a holy desire to do the things that are closest to the Father’s heart, will find opportunities in the lives of those praying for them. I most certainly got what I prayed for. I could not even begin to count how many times I have cared for a wee one that was left alone in the world or even on my doorstep. It meant having greater faith, it meant learning greater flexibility, it meant sacrifice in epic proportions as a family. Was it worth it? By all means, especially if you believe in the power of prayer.
My heart felt as if it would break at times. Little Leah lived with us after she had been taken away from her momma who was a drug addict. The authorities found Leah, at barely 3 months old, also addicted to heroin, in a filth of a shack laying next to her mother who was so strung out on heroin that she did not even realize that her baby had gone missing while she lay there, naked. She was just 18. Leah stayed with us through the worst of it all. It is a horrible thing to see anyone undergo withdrawal symptoms from drug abuse, but it is most horrible to see it in an innocent baby. She shook, her eyes would go into a glazed fixed state, she would cry the most disturbing cry. She would not eat and then she would stop breathing. Imagine being responsible for that? I spent every single night awake watching her chest rise and fall. I never let her out of my sight. I moved as if I was a zombie at times, barely able to care for myself. All I can say is thank God for a couple of dear friends who would help me with the housework at times. How did we survive it?
Most every thought in between the basics of survival and care for our own family was prayer over her wee life. “Lord, please let her live,” “Lord, I believe this wee lamb has a future and a hope, love her with Your extravagant love,” “Lord, protect and provide for her.” “Lord, let her come to know You someday.” Faith knows that even if you never see it happen because you are no longer an integral part of that person’s life, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen.
Faith knows that each prayer is carried along in its own timeless fashion, waiting for the divine moment when God will bring it about.
Little Leah was with us until she recovered from withdrawals, until she began to act like a normal little baby, and until she just started to recognize me as momma. She would smile and coo at me and fill my heart with such joy that I thought it would break. And then one day, they found a family member who could take care of her and she as gone from my arms forever. I got all the hard work, and just when it was getting easier and funner, she was gone.
Baby Thomas was the most difficult, as he was calling me “momma” when it was time for him to leave us. My heart did break over that one. Whew. He was born under a tree, delivered by his twin 4 year old sisters and dropped on his head shortly after birth. His mother lay incoherent throughout most of her pregnancy and delivery. When I received him we had to rush him to the hospital over an hour away and he died there three times from seizures. When I finally brought him home, he had a rare black fungus growing on his head, seizures, a wretched cold, an infection in his ears, and a different fungus all over his torso (with both of the fungi, I had to use a plastic scrapping tool to remove the smelling black goo off his body before applying the medicated cream no less than 3 times daily). I had to sit with him in a vapor tent, again thrice daily. His meds were on the hour, and some every half hour. There would be at least three times a week I would have to rush him to our local clinic, where the most precious Dr I have ever met would care for him. This was a very sick and needy little boy. His care was expensive, and incredibly time consuming. He was my first little boy. We would have kept him if we could have, but it was not to be. Countless times his tiny body would contort during those seizures and every time my heart was jumping into “mamma bear” action when it did. He was like my own, they all were. I learned to pray differently through these times. And when I was too exhausted to pray, I repeated verses from the Minor Epistles, all of the Apostle Paul’s letters. They meant so much more to me as a missionary. He was one of the first missionaries so who would know better than him what I needed to do to be prepared for all of this?
As we finished reading this week in our Read The Bible For Life Study, I found myself perusing my own life and wondered how I could encourage others to take up the call and serve like a missionary in their own sphere of influence. I often have people ask me how my life became so adventurous. I asked for it. I want to live in radical obedience and see God move in my life on a daily basis. Do you? It is not always easy, and it will cost you something. It may cost money, time or even your own sense of pride. Are you willing to let go and let God do something mighty for you and through you? That is how the Apostles lived and why they saw the miracles that they did. I am nobody without His graces, and I blow it often when I stand in stubborn rebellion, however when I choose to obey Him and move where He calls, it is always the most amazing adventure of faith. Absolutely thrilling and exciting.
Take a look at your life this week and ask yourself this one question. Am I living my life for something that will outlive me? The answer to this could be as simple as your prayer life. Are your prayers mostly focused on your own needs and desires, or are those hours on your knees a gift of love, sacrificed for the lives of others and His kingdom? And what about those of you who have felt the call to do something bigger than yourselves? Ask the Lord what is the next step. Could it be a community outreach program such as a soup kitchen or street ministry? This time of year there are so many needs. And finally, those who know that they have the call of God to go. You just need to go, take the plunge and go. I promise you in the end you will not regret it. I have never regretted doing what I do as a missionary momma, even when my heart felt like breaking while I was doing it.
To read more articles about the work we are doing in the missionary field please visit www.StasiaNielsen.com
Assignment For The Week
- Read WEEK NINE in your Read the Bible For Life workbook
- Download the Answers to the Viewer Guide when you click here
- Optional: Listen to the Read The Bible For Life podcasts or watch the videos
Small Group Questions from the Read the Bible For Life workbook (Post your answers here or share them in a small group this week)
- Recall a meaningful letter, note, e-mail, or text message you have received. Discuss what makes these words special to you. What circumstances surrounded the communication?
- A key teaching of Galatians is that no human method of trying to gain salvation works. What are some key things people think they can do to earn eternal life? According to your study of Galatians 2:15-21 (pages 166-69 ), how is salvation attained?
- Scott Duvall says to “read with humility.” What does this mean to you personally and how can you apply this to your life? (page 179 )
- What one word describes your general feeling about the Book of Revelation? Why is reading and understanding Revelation important for Christians?
- What is a specific, tangible action you will take this week to care for orphans, care for widows or keep yourself unstained by the world (see James 1:27)?