“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail..”

I will make an update of all that the Lord is doing here in Mombasa, but first, I had to share this story and all that the Lord is teaching me from it. I do have some photos of the past week, at the end of the post. 

 

1 Kings 17:8-16

“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail..”

When Sarah Olonde first started New Hope School, she had nothing. Only completing her 8th grade year of schooling, she was not qualified to be a teacher. She did not have a building so she had no place for a school. Without any money, she did not have books to aid her in teaching. Sarah's circumstances gave her no earthly reason to believe that the Lord was really calling her to start a school, but still, Sarah put her faith in the Lord. Her circumstances screamed for failure, but the Lord continued to press on her to move forward. She followed the Lord and started New Hope School under a tree, with just two students. Today, we can see what Sarah could not see when she first started. God had a mighty plan of allowing hundreds of students to be educated, fed and hear the Gospel at New Hope School. Over the years to come, thousands of students will be given hope because of Sarah’s willingness to trust God when she had no outward reason to trust. I pray that I will not ever allow my outward circumstances to be used as an excuse to not serve the Lord.

When speaking to Sarah, she was relaying to me of a time when the Lord striped everything away from her and her family, giving her no other option than to depend wholly on Him. When the school was still young, Tom and Sarah were struggling every day to keep the school going, while still providing for their children. They had nothing. Even the house they were living in was a favor from the landlord.

One day, Sarah saw a man talking to Tom. She came up to them to hear the man telling Tom that the Lord had led him to ask for some money to feed his children with. The man’s children had gone three days without food. Tom had nothing he could do but laugh, because he had no money. Not many days before the man came to Tom, Tom’s own son had fainted at school, because he had gone without food for so long.

Tom and Sarah’s family was starving, and yet the Lord had led this man to ask them for help. Sarah left Tom and the man, knowing that she had only 20 shillings, the equivalent of about 20 cents. She had started the day with 100 shillings, about $1. That morning she had bought some flour, beans and sardines to feed her family with. She was remaining with the 20 shillings to buy her children water. After hearing the man’s request, Sarah prayed to God and went home. She divided the flour and the sardines and brought back half of each for the man. Rather than buying water for her children, Sarah added the 20 shillings to the food and gave it to the man. She didn’t know how they were going to make it. They had nothing else, but she trusted God.

It would have been easy for Tom and Sarah to question the goodness of God and give up the work He had called them to do. On the outside, they were surrounded by excuses to quit. Only by the Lord’s grace can we have the strength to stay steadfast when our hearts are crying “why Lord?”

Sitting here today, many years later, Sarah can confidently say that the Lord allowed her to pass through such a time of trial so that she can understand the circumstances of the families she is trying to serve. Continually, Sarah is meeting with mothers and fathers that have no where to turn for help. They come to Sarah pleading with her to help their starving children.  Sarah can now look into the eyes of desperate mothers and fathers and know, from experience, what they are facing. It drives her to continue striving to give hope to the hopeless, through the Gospel that is being spread, because of New Hope School.

Sarah’s experience parallels the story of Elijah and the starving widow woman (1 Kings 17:8-17). Elijah is asked by God to go to the widow woman and request for her to make him a meal to eat. Elijah did not know that this woman was preparing to make a final meal for her and her son, so that they could eat and die. The woman followed the command of Elijah and God blessed her by allowing her jars of flour and oil to not run out until rain returned to end the drought that was causing her to starve.

I am learning that when the Lord withholds the answers I seek, still, He is faithful. Even when some of my questions are left unanswered, I can hold to the truth of God’s Word. He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). His ways are higher than my ways and his thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). I know that He has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). There have been times in my life, when I have found myself in a place where I couldn’t understand the purpose of the Lord’s plan for me. At 18, when the Lord first told me to go to Kenya, I didn’t know why the Lord was wanting me to go to an unknown place, to a people I knew nothing about. By the Lord’s grace, He helped me to step out on faith and trust Him. I know now that the Lord was preparing me to do His work in a place that I have come to love very much. It is easy to trust the Lord when we can see the reason behind His workings. Let us be just as faithful when our circumstances do not make trusting easy. My faith has been tested and strengthened the most when the only answer that I receive from my Lord is “trust me.”

 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. -Lamentations 3:22-23

Ashley Lawson2 Comments