Some people you meet change your life forever.
When I met Abeba, a beautiful, sweet and special little girl in one of our Joyce Meyer Ministries feeding programs in Ethiopia, she was severely malnourished. Her little body was swollen, already in the shut-down mode of starvation. Many in her village were starving, but she was one of the worst cases.
The thing that blew me away about Abeba was her joy. Despite how much pain she was in from malnutrition and her living conditions, Abebaâ€™s smile always glowed.
I had the opportunity to give food to Abebaâ€™s mother for Abeba and her nine brothers and sisters. They were visibly happy and thankful just to have something to eat. Often, the food our ministry provides in this region is the difference between life and death for many of these children and families. Abeba now had a new shot at life.
Our team had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with her. A year later as we prepared for a return trip to Ethiopia, I was excited to see Abeba. Sadly, just before we left for the trip, we learned she had passed away.
At first I was shocked. Then I bawled for a while. I just couldnâ€™t believe this had happened.
On the plane back to Ethiopia, I felt empty and hopeless: If we are going to help these kids and theyâ€™re not going to make it, whatâ€™s the point?
Then while we were there I saw Abebaâ€™s mom with one of Abebaâ€™s little sisters, and it hit me: Thereâ€™s more to do. There are more people to help. Yes, there will be kids who donâ€™t make it, but there are a lot more who need our help. And we can help. So we canâ€™t give up.
We were able to give Abeba a year free of hunger and full of love. Her life greatly affected me. God used her to teach me about my purpose. When I wake up now, what I care about and focus on is different. Abeba inspired me to change and do more. I am humbled to have been a part of her life.
I believe God allows important connections like these so that we can come back and tell their story, encouraging others to find their own purpose and do something to make a difference in our world.
As Much As You Can, Wherever You Can
My passion is seeing peopleâ€™s lives changed through the message of Jesus Christ, as our ministry shows them His love. Whether weâ€™re reaching out through my momâ€™s teaching or the missions outreaches weâ€™re involved in, itâ€™s all about real, relevant, intentional ministry. We share the gospel and relieve human suffering in any way we can, wherever we can.
Through our missions arm, Hand of Hope, we are privileged to be part of thousands of outreaches resulting in people being loved, fed, medically treated, rescued from slavery, restored from disasters, etc.
A few years ago, after an amazing night of outreach in Los Angeles where more than 2,000 people gave their lives to Jesus, something struck me: Because God is working through our ministry, a great magnitude of His work is happening all at the same time, all around the world. As a result of people coming together in a joint effort, the impossible is truly becoming possible.
I sat and thought about all that was happening at the same time those 2,000 people gave their lives to Jesus:
- While we were in Los Angeles, my brother, David, was across the world in Cambodia with a team of people kicking off one of our ministryâ€™s largest-ever mission outreaches.
- At the same time, the gospel was being preached on hundreds of TV and radio stations through our daily programsâ€”reaching a potential audience of two-thirds of the world. And at the same time, there were also hungry kids being fed through our feeding programsâ€”kids that would have otherwise starved to death.
- Across Asia, people were caring for orphans in our childrenâ€™s homes. And while that was happening, postal workers were delivering life-changing resources to help families grow in their walk with God.
- Disaster relief teams we had sponsored were finishing another long day of relief and rebuilding work, and thousands of men, women and children were waking up in newly constructed villages and homes that we helped rebuild in parts of India and Sri Lanka after the tsunami. The list kept going.
Our mission is to make Godâ€™s Word accessible to as many people as possible. We know that His Word is always current. So our job is to keep ourselves current so that we can catch the attention of the people He wants to reach. Thatâ€™s why we use media outlets like our website, TV and radio programs, Facebook, Twitter and mobile apps that offer daily devotionals and access to our Enjoying Everyday Life broadcast.
I am humbled by all God is doing through us and honored to be part of such a great team of people. Itâ€™s pretty amazing what He is allowing us to accomplish together around the worldâ€”mind-blowing, really! All glory and honor to Him.
Our Partners Play a Huge Part
When I talk about our team, Iâ€™m not just referring to our employees. Everyoneâ€”our employees, our friends, our partnersâ€”they are all irreplaceable. Their ongoing prayer and support allow us to reach so many in the United States and throughout the world.
Words canâ€™t describe how grateful we are to our partners. Our family regularly prays for them, and several teams in our office pray daily for them and their prayer requests. Their faithful generosity is literally helping change lives across the globe, and we canâ€™t thank them enough!
In addition to individual partners, we also have organization partnersâ€”great relationships with dozens of groups like Convoy of Hope, Service International, Mercy Ministries and Crisis Aid, to name a few. We think of these ministries as Godâ€™s hands and feet, reaching out to help hurting people and fulfill the Great Commission, often in very remote, unreached places.
In the words of my brother, David, â€śTogether, we are better!â€ť God is using our unique differences and talents to make an even bigger impact than we ever could alone. If you have partnered with us in any way, I want to say, â€śThank you, thank you, thank you!â€ť You are helping to rewrite peopleâ€™s stories.
I think of a young boy named Les in our orphanage in Cambodia. Les and I became good buddies. His father was killed in a fishing accident while working, and his mother could not afford to keep him and his five siblings alive.
Without a ministry like this orphanage, Les would likely grow up on the streets. His story has been rewritten. Les is growing up fed, clothed and educated. He has a roof over his head, a new family that gives him much love and attention, and most important, heâ€™s learning about Jesus!
Les is just one of the thousands of lives that together we are changing. Seeing the difference in his life motivates me to do more.
We Can All Do Something
More than anything, I want people and churches to know that we can all do more. Like my mom says in her book, Change Your World, we firmly believe that every church or ministry and every Christian should be involved in world missions, helping the poor and needy. Itâ€™s a vital part of being a follower of Jesus.
When we do more, more people will be affected, more people will be helped, more people will experience the love of Jesus. And I firmly believe that Godâ€™s commands to help and serve others changes not only the lives of the people we touch, but we are changed in the process as well.
If you lead a church with limited resources, know this: Small things do make a difference. Some people and churches might have resources to do big things while others canâ€™t. Thatâ€™s OK. Just do something with what you haveâ€”whether itâ€™s mowing an elderly neighborâ€™s lawn or leading a missions trip that awakens your congregation to othersâ€™ needs.
Look at the lives of the people that have impacted you. Assess the relationships you have and the opportunities to partner with others to make a greater impact. Consider the resources in your hands and within your reach. Then do something to show the love of Jesus.
Daniel Meyer is CEO of U.S. Media and Operations for Joyce Meyer Ministries and co-creator of Fuzed Worship, an outreach of JMM. Driven by a passion to see lives changed, he is committed to positioning JMM for the next generation and beyond, and effectively communicating the irreplaceable role of its partners.