... And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, "'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise'?" Matthew 21:16b
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Right after graduation, my first parish was in Northern Brazil, at Macapá, capital of Amapá State. As a brand new pastor, I guess I learned much more there than I actually taught to the people.
One of these lessons was a big one. In 2010, National Kid's Day was on the way, and I suggested to my board of elders that it might want to set up some activities at church, to attract kids from the neighborhood. It was my belief if you were able to reach the children, you would also get their parents. Such a missionary tool is very common over here and throughout our church body.
My people said this wouldn't work because, years before, they had tried such a thing and found people wouldn't attend the event. In spite of past failures, I insisted, saying, "If one child comes to church that day, it will be cause for celebration."
The event came and about 80 children showed up! What a blessing! But the big lesson my church and I learned was not actually from that wonderful number.
One of the kids who came was Luana. She was only six years old. She brought her two younger brothers. Starting that day, she came faithfully, and she always brought her little brothers. In the beginning her parents did not attend. That was understandable as her father had been arrested and was in jail.
As the days passed, Luana brought all her family to church: mother, father, grandmother, aunt and cousins. All of them attended church when she played the part of Mary in the Christmas Eve play.
Four months later, little Luana had a stroke in her brain. Amapá State is poor, and there were no facilities where her life could be saved. Fourteen days after her stroke, Luana was called to the arms of our Savior Jesus. There she will stay until the day of resurrection.
Truly, none of us understand why God called her home so soon. But we do understand God used her to call all her family to the faith in Jesus Christ. Almost as importantly, Luana's brief life has taught all Lutherans in Macapá that they should not question God, but rather should ask Him, "Lord, what would You have us learn, and what would you have us do?"
God used little Luana's short life in this world to save her family. That's the purpose of that little girl's life. It was a fulfillment of Jesus words, "... have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise'?"
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that Your ways are the best. Grant that we may trust Your will and believe in Your loving care and salvation with the faith of a child. This we pray in the Name of our crucified and risen Savior. Amen.
Lutheran Hour Ministries has always stood for bringing Christ to the nations. But we also want to share the Savior with those who are close by. If you would like to know more about how you can be prepared to share the Savior, we are having an outreach conference called SENT in Detroit from July 24-27. You can learn more at www.lhm.org/conference.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Tiago Albrecht who, since 2011, has been pastor at Saint Mark Lutheran Church, in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. Curitiba is one of the 12 host cities for FIFA's 2014 World Cup. Earlier he served the church in Macapá, Amapá State, a large city in northern Brazil near the Amazon forest area. He is married to Aline Koller, the current vice president of Communications of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brasil (IELB), a sister church with The Lutheran Church --Missouri Synod (LCMS). In this South American country of 200 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Brazil operates as Cristo Para Todas as Nações (CPTN). Christian outreach programs include a daily radio program, Five Minutes with Jesus; a voice mail service, Messages of Hope; which is also distributed via e-mail; and a weekly "live" online Bible study. This ministry center also utilizes Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops to train volunteers in sharing the Gospel. Another resource, Chaplaincy with Jesus, does coordinated work with various chaplaincy programs throughout Brazil, ministering to individuals in prisons and hospitals. To learn more about LHM's work in Brazil, you can visit its blog at lhmbrazil.wordpress.com.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries