I am the piano player in our church’s worship band, and this morning I was standing up front like I do every Sunday. Today I was a little distracted but also focused on trying to remember the entrances to the songs. I took a few seconds to look out into the room to see who had come, and my eyes stopped on a girl in the second row.
I know this sweet little girl. She doesn’t say much, and when she does you have to be about three inches from her face to be able to hear her. As my eyes met hers, she displayed the biggest smile on her face with a look of admiration that said, “I want to be just like you.” My heart melted as I once again remembered my purpose for being here in Ecuador and was challenged to step up and be the woman of influence that God is calling me to be.
It is easy to say that we have come to Ambato, Ecuador to rock the city for Christ. We want our church to grow and we want to reach thousands of people. We want Ambato to look radically different when we leave than when we came, with a well-established group of leaders that will continue to bring Christ’s transforming grace to their neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers.
However, we can’t forget the little girl in the second row with the smile. We can’t forget that each person we reach out to is an individual life with a story. This little girl has dreams. She has experienced pain. She has felt joy, and when invested in she will be like a brilliant flower that will bloom and show the world her beauty.
I am here so that this little girl might know Christ and see Him in me. I very well may be the picture that comes to mind when she thinks about Jesus. I want her to know as she grows up that someone loves her and believes in her. I want her to grow up and serve God. Who knows? Maybe someday she will be a missionary too; or maybe a doctor, a teacher, or an engineer.
Urban missions is a powerful thing. We live in a city of over 300,000 people. Those are a lot of lives to touch. However, I must remember that just like it changed my life when people took the time to see me amidst all the people in the crowd and believe in me and my dreams, this little girl needs to know that she is special and precious to God. She needs to know how much she matters and how much God wants to use her to change this world.
Who in your church or your community tends to go unnoticed? I challenge you to reach out to that person this week in a special way. Dare to imagine how much God loves that person and desires to be in relationship with them. Dare to imagine how this child of His could be the surprise the world is waiting for.