"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits -
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
I had a conversation with someone this week who couldn't keep the praise from coming out of his mouth if he had tried. J cleans my classroom so we get to have frequent conversations in the afternoon as he cleans and I work. He was marveling over all that God has done in his life this summer. He lives in an area that has been flooded by the Niger River. At times he has left his house in the morning to come to work and waded into water up to his thighs to get on his way. The mud wall around his compound collapsed due to all the water and yet amazingly, the water has not flooded his home. All of his neighbors have left the area but he and his wife have been one in heart and mind that they are to stay put. They are trusting that God will protect their house, something that they have been very vocal about with their neighbors. This has opened the door for them to openly testify to God's protection and provision in their lives. Their neighbors are amazed that they are still there. They were also amazed when a group of our students went out to help J with his wall...they stood around marveling at this group of white people helping.
J went on to share with me how he has four school age children and he wasn't quite sure where the money for school and school supplies was going to come from but they were also trusting the Lord for this need. This past week the director of the school called them together and said that they wanted to help each one of the families with a set amount of money to be used expressly for schooling for their children. It was just what he needed to pay for the tuition and the school supplies! Now they are trusting God for the bicycle that his son needs to ride to school. Near the end of our conversation, J summed it up by saying that this has been the first miracle that he has witnessed in his life - the miracle of God's provision for him in the midst of a very difficult circumstance. It was such an encouragement to hear God's praise flowing off J's lips and to know that in the midst of darkness, the testimony of J and his family is illuminating his neighborhood.