My husband and I are part of a really wonderful fellowship group at our church. We’re a pretty casual bunch. Our leaders have guided us through some great books and topics in the past few years. I find myself often wishing I had time to get to know folks in our class even better. We even have a facebook page to stay in touch throughout the week! It’s comfortable, but it’s not complacent. The longer I’m part of this group, the more I’ve been encouraged by the glimpses I see into the depth of character, the life experiences, the commitment to ministry and the honest relationships with God and each other represented in our class.
Most recently, I’ve been struck by the commitment of our class to pray for one another. When a couple in our class shared week after week about their baby girl’s ongoing health problems, others from the class met for prayer in their home. When the neighbor of another couple needed a transplant, the wife helped organize a neighborhood prayer meeting on the front lawn of the affected family. Just this last week, we had an impromptu time of prayer for some health issues impacting my husband.
To be part of a community that lives out their faith in relationships beyond Sunday morning pleasantries is unspeakably encouraging. It has carried our family through difficult times. And because I know it’s value, it’s something I pray for when I think of vulnerable children in Zimbabwe and Zambia. They need a community like that who will rally around them with prayer.
Gugulethu needs that. She’s 14 years old and is being raised by her grandmother, along with two of her three siblings. Her parents both passed away several years ago. On top of that devastating loss, Gugulethu suffers from epilepsy. She is unable to attend school regularly because of the number of seizures she experiences – as frequently as every two days and for long hours.
In the face of these challenges, Gugulethu has needed her local church, and they have been there for her. In the past few months, they were able to increase their care for her through a new partnership with Forgotten Voices. The church sees that their responsibility goes beyond providing food or paying school fees. Five weeks ago the church dedicated a time of prayer and fasting for this sweet young girl, interceding on her behalf for healing. When our USA team visited two weeks ago (photo above), church members gave a great praise report that after praying over her several Sundays ago, she now seems to suffer fewer seizures.
Gugulethu’s church will continue to support her physical and spiritual needs in ways I hope all of us get to experience from our own local church community.
Who in your life needs to know that you are praying for them – their health, their protection, their relationship to God? As Gugulethu’s church leads by example, let’s do likewise praying intentionally and in faith for her and anyone that God lays on our hearts today.
Ellen Shaffer, Director of Project Management