‘The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ . But in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, EVERY ONE OF THEM, JUST AS HE WANTED THEM TO BE. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.’ 1 Corinthians 12:12, 17-20
Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you can make a difference as an individual. This broken world is such a big place and the problems so great and numerous. It is easy to feel as though what you have to offer by way of time, talent or treasure is insignificant or inadequate. Yet God tells us that each one of us has an important role to play in His Kingdom, one he made just for us. He says that together we are a perfectly organized team, the body of Christ, where each member is critical to the carrying out his plans. LMC is a perfect example of the body of Christ at work. An incredible variety of gifts of all kinds are needed to run LMC every day; gifts of time, talent and treasures, some big, some seemingly small, some apparent to all and some very inconspicuous. Regardless of the gift’s size or obvious importance by worldly standards, they are all undeniably critical to what LMC does in Malawi. As with everyone and everything in God’s care, it is amazing how indispensible every size and type of contribution is to LMC and the body of Christ everywhere.
My friends Beth and Gary Evans recently visited us in Malawi and brought some of those contributions with them. Beth was in choir with me at my home congregation of St. Marcus in Milwaukee and happens to be a CAMM committee member as well former LMC nurse in Malawi. Although they were on vacation, they used quite a bit of their luggage allowance to bring gifts of all kinds and sizes for the clinic. They brought things like sunscreen for our albino patients, a laptop for us to use for clinic administrative work and staff development, a new vacuum cleaner to try to keep up with the dust and dirt that fills the house and office and the Visa application paperwork for the next LMC volunteer. All of these things were donated through contributions of CAMM supporters.
That suitcase filled with such a variety of gifts is a great example of the endless ways individuals contribute to LMC. The CAMM committee volunteer their time and talents in numerous ways to manage all aspects stateside in support of our efforts in Africa. Pastor John Holtz’s official role with LMC is to serve as our spiritual support system and clinic advisor in Malawi, but he also graciously (and patientlyJ) spent much of his valuable time recently at the Malawian equivalent of the DMV to ensure that our ambulances were able to operate legally on Malawian roads. It is probably easy for you to picture Amanda working hard with our staff to provide the best care possible at clinic each day (and does she ever), but you’d likely never imagine she also spends countless hours reviewing old clinic statistics to look for ways to improve care or that she used her experience working in a grocery store and a bakery to develop a more efficient way of purchasing and using medications. We often buy our maize and soya for our nutrition program from one of our employees and his wife who sells it as her business. This typically involves her leaving Lilongwe around 3 or 4am on hired transportation to travel 2-3 hours to buy it in surrounding villages and returning the same day after dark with what she’s purchased. Because prices are so much higher this year, she still wanted to help us buy it, but they did not want to make any money on it because they wanted to help LMC because LMC helps them. He and his family live on our property, but make the least of all of our full time employees. The amount typically made for selling one 50kg bag of Maize in Malawi would not buy a large coffee at Starbucks, but their offer was one of the most generous I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, after choking back the tears, I insisted he let us pay them for their hard work, and he accepted…eventually.
These are just a few of the amazing examples of God’s team contributing to his kingdom in just the way he had intended. Whether you gave a vacuum cleaner, $1, a bottle of sunscreen or a minute of your time to tell your friends about CAMM and say a prayer, your impact on God’s work here and the witness it provides at home is immeasurable and irreplaceable. God doesn’t measure our gifts the way the world does. He just asks that we give what we are able with the gifts he’s given us. Whether he has blessed you with material wealth, the patience to deal with bureaucracy, the heart for comforting others, organizational skills or the enthusiasm of sharing what CAMM is doing in Malawi and Zambia and lifting our mission up in prayer, God uses your gifts to advance his plans and lift up others of the body of Christ in countless ways, many of which you may never know this side of heaven. One thing you can be sure of is that each one of you is appreciated and making a difference in the lives of others and God is smiling with every ‘little’ thing you do in love and service. Thanks for all you do for CAMM and the body of Christ every day. There are a lot of smiles all over the world and in heaven because of the love you show through your very unique and special gifts.
Yours in Christ, Alison Westphal