All of us will be surprised when we enter God’s presence and He reveals events and scenes from our lives that helped shape the eternal destiny of another — even though we didn’t have a clue at the time.
However, sometimes The Father pulls back the curtain and allows a glimpse of the past and the result is truly amazing.
My story begins in a rural ranching area of West Texas. A small Southern Baptist church with a passion for missions and a pastor taught us that it is a privilege to support the spread of the gospel.
In 1955, one of our kindergarten teachers, Lola Mae Daniel, felt the call of the Master to surrender her life to foreign missions.
This was unique, in that she was 59 years old, never married, and was considered too old by the appointing agency.
She would not be deterred! She met with our pastor and he committed to support her desire to minister the gospel in a foreign land.
She went to Taipei in the fall of 1956. Her one-year appointment became her life work and she served there for 20 years.
On the last Sunday before she left, the local church had a commissioning service and going away fellowship in her honor. I remember how the pastor’s words sank into my 8-year-old heart. “
“God has honored our congregation by choosing one of our own to serve Him in Taiwan. We will honor Him by supporting her ministry there.”
There was a special “foreign missions” box placed in the sanctuary and the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering always called attention to Lola Mae and the needs in Taiwan. The amount given was not the question — giving itself was.
Now, for an 8-year-old in Ozona, Texas in 1956, generating income was a problem. And, I felt that my 50 cents per week allowance would not go too far. I discussed with my Mom ways to raise money and arrived at a plan. There was a grocery store that paid three cents apiece for returnable pop bottles.
I remember the joy I felt when the fruit of my labor (probably less than $10) was dropped into the Lottie Moon offering box. It was offered without reserve or condition.
Now, flash forward 25 years.
I was working for a major electronics firm in Temple, Texas. Due to a meeting that was delayed, I was running late for lunch. By the time I arrived in the cafeteria, almost all the tables were taken.
I looked around the crowded dining area and noticed a young Asian engineer, with head bowed, saying grace over his meal. As he finished praying, I asked if I might sit with him. He graciously accepted my request and I sat down. As our meal progressed, I mentioned that what had drawn me to his table was his prayer before eating. I asked if he was a Christian and his yes reply opened the door for more conversation. I inquired where he was from and when he stated “Taipei, Taiwan,” I asked if he’d ever heard of a missionary lady named Lola Mae Daniel.
His quick response, in broken English, was “Oh yes, she tell me about Jesus. Now, I Christian.”
In an instant, I was transported back to a small West Texas town and saw in my mind’s eye an 8-year-old boy pulling a little red wagon, picking up pop bottles. And I knew “that we labor not in vain.” B&R — The article was originally published in the Alaska Baptist Convention Milepost in December of 2014.