everyday jesus ~ seeing him in the face of a missionary

On Friday and Saturday I had the privilege of serving the ladies of Habersham County, Georgia’s WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) at their annual retreat, which was held at Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Georgia. It was a sweet time of service for me, and I pray a time of challenge and growth for the ladies.

 

 

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I had the pleasure of meeting some of the sweetest ladies over the two days, and came away from the event feeling so blessed. One of the ladies I met is the topic for today’s everyday jesus story. #everydayjesus

On Friday afternoon, I stood at my product table and watched a younger (probably in her late 60s) lady help an older woman (early 80s) to a chair next to my table. The younger woman looked at me, and when I smiled, she said, “This is Anita. She was a missionary.”

Immediately, I was intrigued. I walked over, picked up the pillow in the chair next to Anita, and settled in beside her. Her white hair, kind eyes, and softly wrinkled skin hinted to me that this lady had some stories to tell. I introduced myself and asked her about her missionary years.

Anita Roper and me

Anita Roper and me

 

Anita was an IMB (International Mission Board) missionary to Nigeria for over 40 years. She taught school in Nigeria, and was the spearhead for the GA (Girls in Action) arm of the WMU for all of Nigeria.

She and I discovered that we have a mutual friend, Jo George. Jo G, as I call her, was my high school guidance counselor. Anita and Jo G used to lead Vacation Bible School in my hometown when they were young women, sixty-plus years ago.

Anita eagerly shared stories of ‘her girls’…..young Nigerian women who were under her tutelage and care. She told me of one who is now at a high level in the Nigerian government. She shared that every year she re-connects at a reunion with those Nigerian women she ministered to who now live in the US. As she talked, her eyes lit up and her love for ‘her girls’ was evident.

I looked at her and with a huge lump in my throat said, “Anita, you are one of our heroes of the faith.”

She lowered her eyes, paused a moment, and said, “God is good.”

I replied, “All the time.”

Without missing a beat, Anita said, “And all the time…”

I finished, “God is good.”

Anita gave her adult life in service to the girls of Nigeria, telling them about Jesus and the love He has for them. Although she did not speak of trials during her years of service, I know that life as a missionary is not without more than a few of them.

Anita retired in 1992, but continues to love and serve Jesus even in her 80s.

I saw Jesus in Anita. Her love for the girls of Nigeria, her devotion to Jesus, and her dedication to spreading the gospel were all evidence of her faith in Christ. It was all I could do to hold back tears later as I spoke and saw Anita’s beautiful face in the crowd. How fitting that my topic for that evening was the LEGACY that we are leaving for the generations that come behind us.

Linking up at Kelly Balarie at #RaRalinkup and Grace & Truth:

Satisfaction Through Christ

 

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  • Christy Mobley

    Leah, I loved hearing about Anita. Such selflessness. I read about people like her, I think oh, how I wish I was that selfless. I have remind myself that that’s what she was called to do. We can all that be selfless by being obedient to God. By saying to Him. Thanks for sharing.

    • Christy, thank you for visiting me. Anita was such an inspiration and example to me. She was so humble and loving. I know the girls she served were impacted in ways that only eternity will reveal. Oh that I might follow her example. Blessings to you.

  • Kim S

    Leah, what a beautiful soul to meet! I love that you are cheering on the next generation too! Thanks for sharing on #raralinkup. Have a great day, Kim Stewart
    http://www.kimstewartinspired.com

    • Kim, thanks for stopping by. My ministry is very much about cheering on the next generations. Hence my first Bible study looking at the LEGACY we are leaving for those who come behind us! Blessings to you.

  • kelly balarie

    Beautiful. I love this story of Anita. What a joy it is that you met her. She is a complete inspiration! Thank you for sharing this story that binds our heart in love. Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    • Thank you, Kelly. It was such a blessing to meet her. She cheered me on!!

  • Some of the richest times of fellowship in my life have been with missionaries from foreign lands. Hearing from these heroes of the faith – interacting with them, looking into their faces, squeezing their hands, having them pray over my children – is an honor and a joy, spurring me on in my own daily walk and often leading me to pray that at least one of my own children might join the ranks of these servants Christ so highly esteems. Thank you for honoring Anita here, and for sharing her story with us at Grace & Truth!

    • Thank you, Jennifer. It was my honor to spotlight Anita. She was such a blessing to me.

  • Holly Brown

    I absolutely adore these saints that have lived a life of obedience and faith being missional in the context that God placed them. They are so inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing her story and your time with her!

    • Holly, thanks so much for stopping by! It was a pleasure getting to know Anita!

  • Yolanda Chevette Perry

    Wow…just a beautiful story. I just love your heart and the hearts to serve. Thank you for sharing this. And what a LEGACY you are creating for your family! #RaRaLinkUp Glad I found you Friend!

    • Hello, Yolanda, and thank you for stopping in. LEGACY is my heartbeat. In fact, I wrote a Bible study on the topic. I’m looking forward to visiting you! Bless you, sweet friend.