Right? Or Left? An Unexpected Harvest...

The following is a story Anna Caroline wrote for use with her world missions women's devotional given at WellSpring on October 18, 2015.  Each time the word RIGHT appears, unwrapped missions gifts passed to the right.  Each time the word LEFT appears, gifts passed to the left.  At the end of the story, we unwrapped our "landed" present, which was attached to a specific prayer need and missionaries for prayer assigned to a given region.  "Well done, Anna Caroline...good and faithful servant!"  (DB)

             “Thank you Lord for all of your many blessings on us, in your Son’s name, Amen,” ended Pastor Tim as he closed out the Sunday service with benediction. “AlRIGHT now”, exclaimed Pastor Tim, “everyone have a good week and don’t forget to lift our mission team up this week as they head out to Berlin RIGHT at 8:00 Monday morning.” Julie sat in her seat with her head low. Here she was, an aspiring sixteen-year -old missionary all ready to go on her first ever mission trip to one of her favorite places and RIGHT at the last minute she had to cancel because SURPRISE, her older sister’s wedding got moved up to the same week as the trip. “Ugh, I’m never getting married,” mumbled Julie.
                  She looked to her RIGHT and saw Elisabeth staring her RIGHT in the eyes. Elisabeth was her best friend since kindergarten, and she actually was getting to go. Julie realized that she was the only one out of her friends who wasn’t going and immediately was taunted by the feelings that come with being LEFT out.
                “It’s alRIGHT Julie,” said Elisabeth as she sat by her troubled friend, “RIGHT now you should just pray about all of this, maybe God has a reason.” The girls hugged and both LEFT to go home. That night Julie knelt down by her bedside and prayed, “Lord, what’s going on? I feel like I’ve done everything RIGHT! I’ve listened to your calling for my life and I’ve been preparing for it for years now. There has to be some mistake, RIGHT?”
                 As she placed her head in her hands she heard a calming voice that LEFT all the other voices in her life sounding like falling leaves. “Nothing is a mistake my dear, I want you RIGHT here.” The voice LEFT Julie in tears, and she accepted what God had told her. A couple days later at her sister’s wedding, her cousin-in-law, a down RIGHT atheist came up to her and said “I thought you LEFT for Germany, looks like your stupid parents made you stay for this. How can you be so happy when you have a family that gets in the way of everything?”
                 Julie looked at him and said, “Because, Andrew, I already have everything in Christ, who by the way also taught me that it's RIGHT to honor my father and mother; therefore, you can take that opinion of yours and run with it on out outta here.” And with that, she strolled away triumphantly, but still questioning God.
                A few years later, Julie is a business administration major in her junior year of college.  “AlRIGHT God,” she said as she packed her bags for her abroad trip to Turkey, “I can’t think of anything that could be getting LEFT behind.” She was so excited that, after years of praying for an opportunity to reach the non-Christian world, she was finally getting a chance! After arriving in Turkey, Julie got RIGHT on getting in touch with a mission organization. “I might as well start if I’ll be living RIGHT around this area for a semester”, she thought.
                Days and days went by and Julie sure was getting her feel of the mission field...morning and evening service at St. Paul’s church every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesdays, volunteering at the food bank every Tuesday and Saturday RIGHT at 12:00, Thursday night Daycare Service...at this point Fridays were the only days she had LEFT!  One thing that Julie wasn’t expecting aside from all of this is the fact that in one month and a half she had not seen a single convert. This discouraged her, and she again went to God.
                “God I feel like I’m doing everything RIGHT, why am I not seeing anything? This must be a mistake.” And just as she finished, the same gentle voice came to her and said, “Nothing is a mistake my dear, I want you RIGHT here.” And with that Julie dried her tears and accepted God’s word. Julie ended up staying in Turkey for 5 years after that, taking online classes and continuing her ministry. After 5 years God called her somewhere else and she LEFT.
                Two years later, Julie finds herself as the chief administrator of a missionary organization in Hong Kong, China. Every day she went into work until the hand on the clock was RIGHT on the 5 and the 12 and she hopped over to the local marketplace and swept the sidewalks. Downtown Hong Kong was certainly not the cleanest place on earth in between the smell of rotting market fish and motor oil, but she knew it was the RIGHT thing God wanted her to do.
               Every time someone would stop her and ask why she did what she did, she always told them that it was the RIGHT thing to do because Jesus the God of the universe loved them and LEFT heaven to come to earth to die for their sins; and, of course, day after day she saw absolutely nothing. Even her missionary organization was “all service and no results.”  This discouraged Julie, and she went to God and said, “Lord, I feel like I’m doing everything RIGHT. There must be some mistake.” And God said for the third time, “Nothing is a mistake my dear, I want you RIGHT here.” And with that she continued to clean, until God called her someplace else and she LEFT.
                At this point in time, Julie is 45 years old and has been serving in Cairo for over 10 years. She is the administrator at the Holy Cross Christian Fellowship. Many Egyptians actually attended the church and she felt quite at home to the point where she was the only one LEFT in the building on Sundays! Every day she would do her work up at church, and RIGHT at 3:00 she would head out to help Mr. Aziz, an older man who was a Muslim, and his wife, Surah, tend his goats. Julie was never paid for this, for the only pay she ever cared about was their friendship. For the years she had been living in Egypt she had prayed and prayed for Aziz to get RIGHT with the Lord. She never forced it, but she always prayed.
               One day while tending the fields she felt an urge that she had never felt before.  She had to talk to Aziz and Surah, for she just couldn’t see them get sent to Hell. She wrestled and wrestled with God as she knelt down and said, “Lord, I will lose them if I do this. I feel like what I’m doing is the RIGHT thing.  This has to be a mistake”. And yet the same voice came again and said, “Nothing is a mistake my dear, I want you RIGHT here.” She shook her fists, but she then accepted what God wanted.
               She sat them down, and as she did she saw all of her hard work in building the relationship that she was fixing to ruin, and questioned them on whether or not they would ever consider Jesus Christ as their Savior. Both of her dear friends looked astonished and, in a sense,betrayed.  As they LEFT, they banished her from their home. As Julie looked up at the sky she said, “AlRIGHT Lord, what next? “And with that God called her somewhere else and she LEFT.
                After her years in Egypt, God called her to the United Kingdom.  After several years of working in the church overlooking Glasgow, Scotland, she found herself ministering to a group of Wiccans who insisted on protesting outside of the church doors every Sunday. Day after day she was spat on by words that LEFT her insides trembling, yet she stayed strong and continued to do what she could. Julie was RIGHT at 74 at this time, having become wise throughout her years of doing the RIGHT things.
                Two years later, Julie heads to the doctor because of some trouble breathing and hurting in her chest only to find that liver cancer has contacted and infested her body. Dr. Cameron said, “Julie, the only way you can get a cure for such a thing as this is if you prepare for a plane ride back to the States immediately, I am sorry to inform you of such terrible news.” Julie nodded her head, said a prayer with Dr. Cameron and LEFT to head home.
                 That night she bowed her head and said, “Lord, I’ve done everything RIGHT and have still not seen a single convert in all of my years serving Your world. Is it RIGHT for me to leave to go to the States for the operation so I can still see one?” And just like that, the still, small voice more lovingly than ever before filled her ears saying, “Oh, My good and faithful Julie, My work here is not accomplished yet. I need you to stay RIGHT here.” Julie accepted, this time without sorrow or doubt. and continued on with her regular routine. The Wiccans she ministered to never gave her a lick of attention. Out of all the kinds of people she encountered they were by far the worst she had met but she still continued to preach until one day she simply could not get out of bed for church on Sunday. Her legs felt like jello and she knew her life was leaving her; but what she also knew was she did RIGHT what God had wanted her to do. She LEFT this world in peace.
                When she awoke, she saw before her a beautiful man. A man with not only love, but honor in His eyes. And when He spoke, His voice was a voice that made every other voice in her life sound like falling leaves. “Well done, My good and faithful servant,” He said, like a proud Father who accomplished every goal He ever had dreamed through His child.
                 “My goodness, Jesus,” Julie laughed, “I must have done something wrong because I never saw ANYONE, not ANY ONE come to You when I was working.” Jesus smiled and took her by the hand and said, “Come with Me, there’s something I want to show you.” As they walked. they turned RIGHT into a room flooded with light where many people were standing, not saying a word.
                Then, out of nowhere, silence LEFT the building when a young teenager came up to Julie and gave her big hug. After they finished embracing Julie looked into the face of the teen and realized it was Andrew. As they pulled away he  said, “ I wouldn’t be here because of you, Julie. I knew I had to get RIGHT with the Lord after your sister’s wedding years ago. I had nothing, no reason to live and here you had everything when you had Jesus. I accepted Jesus that Sunday after church, but then died in a car accident 3 months later. It’s alright though, because I know God needed me to help spread the word to my buddies about Christ’s love and that what those three months were all about!”
                 Julie was speechless; she couldn’t believe God was working in that this whole time!  The second group of people that came up to her were people she recognized from the Food Bank in Turkey. One said to her, “We never got to thank you for feeding us, for in that time God showed us how much He cared about us through you. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you. We all ended up getting jobs RIGHT when we accepted Christ and it was the biggest blessing. It’s crazy what a simple meal can do!” Julie, again, was at a loss for words. She continued on to see people from China that she had recognized from sweeping the sidewalks, and then some from Egypt and Scotland. They were all there because of the love of Christ that was demonstrated through her. Then she looked to her LEFT and noticed a young Middle Eastern man coming toward her, “Hello my name is Salim. I am Aziz’s son.”
               Julie was confused, for she had never met any of Aziz’s children. “I overheard the conversation you had with my parents years ago, about Jesus Christ; and I could not help but look into Him. I fell in love and immediately became a Christian and LEFT my old life behind. Thank you for praying for my parents, because it sure blessed me.” At that moment Julie fell to her knees and wept at the feet of Jesus. “Lord, forgive me for ever doubting Your will and plan. Please forgive me. You knew all along what You were doing.”
               Jesus knelt down and held Julie in His arms.“ I will never forsake you, and I love you. Now come walk with Me, there’s a lot more LEFT to see.” And with that, Julie accepted RIGHT where she was supposed to be and was content in every way.