Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Many nights I lay awake reminding myself, “We have some eight women in Nairobi, Kenya who are supporting themselves and their families through the sales of reusable cloth shopping bags.” This is a thought that keeps me praying.
The Global Bag Project began in 2009 with a handful of women making Africa bags. In our first full year of operation, through sales or donations, we raised about $45,000 worth of funds. We are not quite at the place where we take no overhead expenses from the total, but we are working toward the moment when all the earnings from sales go back to the Africa office.
It is at these moments—when I became haunted by the thoughts that we could become like the typical do-gooder Westerners who jump into projects without really understanding the cultural implications or the limitations of their grand ideas and then bail out—that I find myself not sleeping.
It is then I am reminded that this idea to help the poor help themselves was not just our idea, but that God is always the Initiator of many grand schemes that have made a difference in this suffering world.
In his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, Rick Stearns points out that because of the determined, coordinated effort of collaborating organizations and individuals:
- Life expectancy in developing nations increased from 46 years in 1960 to 66.1 years in 2005.
- The under-five mortality rate has been cut in half since 1970.
- Preventable child deaths have fallen 50 percent since 1960 from more than 20 million per year to fewer than 10 million.
- The percentage of the world’s people classified as hungry has been reduced from 33 to 18 percent over the past 40 years.
- The percentage of people with access to clean water in developing countries went from 35 percent in 1975 to 80 percent in 2007.
Change does happen.
So, I lie abed at night thinking about the eight women in Nairobi who look to us to market their reusable artisan shopping bags in the States—and I think of the thousands of other women who yearn for work so they can feed their children, pay the rent, buy school uniforms, and meet the tuition bills.
That’s when I start praying to the God who declares His concern for the poor, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” Proverbs 19:17. I have decided this is a huge project, beyond my abilities. So, I have begun to fast one day a week for our bag-maker friends and for our joint venture, this Africa bag project.
I spoke in a church in West Lafayette, Indiana two nights ago. The topic was on deepening our friendships. I shared that one of the ways I had deepened some of my friendships was by working across oceans and continents with women who have a shared vision. It was one of four points. I showed the video clip of Mary Nduta, our first bag-maker. We sold $545 worth of bags that night!
I spy God. And, I would like to thank Him for answering my prayer. I am fasting again this week.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.