Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a story from Nicaragua. There’s a risk, I think, in telling stories that happen in other countries. It’s easy for us (well, at least for me) to think that these are the types of encounters that are not possible here…at home, in the normal day-to-day. So, let me say from the get-go, that’s not true.

A group of our friends, our hosts, from Food for the Hungry had arranged an afternoon of meeting and talking with folks throughout the community. I’m not sure what the families were told, but the intention was to hear their stories and pray for them. The very idea makes me uncomfortable. Here we are, a group of United Statesians (Estadounidenses in Spanish) with the riches to fly to a different country, ride in an air-conditioned van, and show up at their front door as if we were something special. “Honey, the Americans are here. All our troubles are gone!” Do you feel the tension?

We visited a middle-aged woman, and she invited us into her home. We stood in a small circle as she talked. The room was dark because there wasn’t any electricity nor was there any running water. The house was made of cement blocks, dirt floors, and a thatch roof. Her husband was gone, and she was worried about her teenage son. Would he finish school? And if not, where would he go to find a job? As she cried, this thought ran through my head. I have nothing to offer her. Nothing.

But I can pray.

Another time, we stood outside a man’s home. His wife was there with him, and their kids and dogs and chickens ran around the yard as we talked. He was sick, maybe it was cancer, but it definitely affected his ability to work. He read to us from the Bible, he talked about having faith, and the whole time, he stood there with the widest possible smile on his face. Again, there was this heaviness of reality. I have nothing to offer.

There’s a story in Acts 3 where Peter and John come across a man who was crippled from birth. Peter says to him, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” And he does.

I long to be like Peter and John, to be used by God to meet the very deepest, core-level needs of those around me. I haven’t (yet) prayed for someone to be healed and seen the miraculous happen immediately.

But I (and we) can still follow their lead just as they were following Jesus’ lead.

In those moments in Nicaragua, despite the awkwardness and the near-ridiculous nature of the experience, we prayed together. And the presence and power of God showed up.

Really, we don’t have much to give…our time, our talent, and our treasure. But that’s nothing compared to the work that God wants to do in us and through us.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the greeting that Paul gives in every letter of his in the Bible. This is where he starts. This is the foundation of life with Jesus.

Grace & Peace

It’s the promise to us as we live our lives following Jesus.

AND

It’s the gift we can give, through God’s power, to those around us.

Jeremy Neckers

Jeremy Neckers

Jeremy Neckers is the Administrative Pastor at Commonway. Originally from southwestern New York, Jeremy moved to Muncie in the early 90s with his parents and sister. After graduating from Delta High School, he earned a degree in chemistry and biology from Ball State in 2002.  While Jeremy has been a part of Commonway since its inception, he spent a number of years as a middle school math & science teacher before joining the staff. He and his wife, Maggie, live in Muncie with their two daughters.

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