God blessed me with the opportunity to play a small part in transitioning some Romanian girls from the pits of desperation to productive lives by learning a trade to earn a living.
Back in the 1990s, we set up a small ministry to help transition older orphans out of Romania’s Orphanages and into Romanian society. We rescued three girls, provided them with supervised housing, and found jobs for them in a bakery where they could develop the skills to be bakers.
The group which we targeted were orphans that were already out of the system and were living in horrible conditions. From that group of three girls, one returned to her old ways while the other two continued for some time, working within the ministry of a local, American missionary. Eventually, the second girl struck out on her own, and the third girl married an American, Christian man and moved to the States.
All three were given the same opportunities, treated the same way, and received individual Christian counseling. Still, one returned to a life of sin, one became a productive member of Romanian society, and one clung to Jesus.
When I first met them, this third girl seemed to be mentally disabled. She spoke very little, was very backward, and even had a kind of blank look on her face. However, we discovered these symptoms were from trauma; Jesus healed her. She eventually became herself; she was a person that loved Jesus.
So, what did we learn from this program? We saw first hand Matthew 13:3-9: Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
We had three of the four in our small group. We didn’t have the one among thorns. We can’t change people; only God can do that. Still, it’s our job to demonstrate Jesus to people, to give our time, talents, and treasures to reach people for Jesus, and to not just talk about Jesus but to live as Jesus lived; to put everything we have, including life, itself, on the line for Jesus.
In the whole of this world, there is nothing more valuable than a single person being saved by placing their faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior. We should filter all of our decisions through this truth.
Photo by Emma Van Sant on Unsplash