"From Ghana to Uruguay, By Faith"
April 24, 2015
And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." Matthew 15:21-22
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
"Where I came from, my people are suffering because they have no food, no work and, if you work, you get paid only enough money to help you survive. There are many problems there. There is no way to live. "That's what the 14-year-old Ghanaian boy said when he arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Not knowing when or where the ship would dock, he had traveled for 15 days as a stowaway in the engine room of a fishing boat.
The young man arrived in our country with four liters of water, three pieces of bread, and a Bible as his only belongings. Upon his arrival, he slept on the street for 10 days, until someone guided him to the door of the Army Command. One female soldier volunteered to supervise the young boy.
She is a mother of four children, and now she is his surrogate mother.
In writing this devotion, I have wondered what was in the heart of this young boy. I have come to believe he was willing to enter this brave and unknown adventure because of his earnest desire to have a better future. He put aside his many doubts, his feelings of helplessness, and placed himself and all he would ever be into God's hands.
This leads me to recall the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28, which highlights the faith of this woman who was suffering.
The story of the Canaanite woman shows us what it is to have a strong faith. It offers us an example of patience and perseverance in our dealings with the Lord. Moreover, it teaches us not to be discouraged when it seems He is not answering as quickly as we might wish.
Look at this lady. When it came to the ears of this woman the news of the presence of Jesus, she went to His presence in desperation. She begins: "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me." She does not ask for a favor, nor does she try to negotiate with the Savior. No, she comes with a plea for pure mercy as she pleads for her daughter's pain to be healed.
In the conversation that follows we see the Lord nourish the woman's faith, hope, humility and patience. She was convinced Jesus could and would heal her daughter.
Jesus' reaction? He said: "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted."
This story shows us and teaches us how great is the heart of Jesus, revealing His huge love for us. It also leaves a nice lesson and is the confidence that we have in Him -- as the Canaanite woman or the young Ghanaian did.
THE PRAYER: Father, we ask You to renew our hearts and fill us with faith. We pray that we may always trust that You will never forsake us, and that we will know Your justice and mercy will always be on time in our lives. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Maria Gabriela Silveira, who is 25 years old, a student of communication, and a member of the Lutheran Church of Uruguay. Since 2011 she has been working at Christ for all Nations - Uruguay. She specializes in helping the local office and the Lutheran mission at downtown city.
In this South American country where religion is downplayed, LHM-Uruguay (known in-country as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones) utilizes radio programs like "Focus" (a 30-second spot covering a variety of topics) and "Message of Hope" (60-minute programs speaking about faith and hope). Other outreach efforts include local performances, craft workshops, and special events that celebrate certain days like Children's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas. Additionally, Project JOEL and other biblically-based resources connect with youth, helping them make sound value judgments and healthy decisions. The homeless and unemployed are also assisted through this ministry center's food distribution program.
Check out the installation of two missionary pastors in Uruguay by clicking here and visiting its blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries