Everyday Illustrations of Creative Compassion
- Monday, February 03, 2003
Visiting those in prison. "Nothing can prepare you perfectly for ministry to death row inmates," says army major Kathryn Cox. Kathryn has been ministering to inmates on "The Row" and their families since 1986. While her undergraduate degrees in psychology and journalism and her master's degree in criminal justice are helpful as she coordinates Bible correspondence courses for 30,000 inmates through the army's Texas division, she believes God developed a strong spirit of compassion and understanding in her for this special ministry. She says that everything she has witnessed through her ministry "attests mightily to a salvation that can penetrate any locked door."
..."Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" (Matthew 25:34-36).
Reaching children with HIV. Beth Dykhuizen loves children. As the mother of four, she is devoted to serving her family and raising her kids to be fine Christian young people. Early on, Beth learned how painful it is to see innocent children suffer. Her own son, Kurt, was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, which meant he had numerous birth defects and required over 18 surgeries. Watching her son go through these physical challenges drew Beth's heart to other hurting children.
"People used to tell me that I am very sensitive to other people's needs," Beth says. "But it made me think, what am I doing with it? I finally realized that the sensitivity was not beneficial unless I acted upon it. When I would see suffering in this world, I would question why God would allow it. But then I realized that God had made me to reach out, touch the suffering, and show them his love."
As a member of her church's missions committee, Beth sought out ministries in need of volunteers and came across an organization that helps children and their families impacted by HIV. Beth knew immediately that this was where she wanted to serve. She started taking care of the babies-loving them, feeding them, and changing their diapers. Her daughter Connie began to help too. Because her own son had such loving support at her home, her heart went out to those children who did not have such comfort.
..."I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40).
Teaching generations. Jan Gilliland earned her masters of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at a time when few women pursued advanced degrees. She planned to go away to the mission field but found her mission was in her own home. Having successfully raised four children, she now pours her talents into the lives of her grandchildren and the community around her.
Every summer she organizes a Cuzzins Camp for her grandchildren who are five years of age and up. The camp creatively centers on a different biblical theme each year, giving Jan the opportunity to pour God's Word into generation after generation. Her daughter Leslie says this about her: "Mom is always doing something for someone else. I remember hitting the 'sophomore slump' at Baylor. She listened patiently and then asked me, 'What are you doing for other people?' That truly is the theme of her life."
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