Today I am pleased to introduce Jeanette Morris, one of my Word Diva teammates. Jeanette’s second-half of life offered an unexpected opportunity to build her spiritual legacy. You’ll be inspired as she shares her story and invites you to join her “second-half adventure.”
She had my attention.
The dark-haired Russian trembled a little at the podium of our small, California congregation. She shared about a ministry in her city that gave public school teachers the opportunity to use a character-improvement curriculum for teens based on the life of Jesus. Wait a minute? Hadn’t that been a crime or something under communism?
At the end of her presentation, our pastor asked, “What is your ministry’s greatest need?” The woman took deep breath. I was sure she would ask for money.
“That someone would come and teach the Bible to us,” she replied.
My heart broke; tears streamed down my cheeks. Crazy how “someone’s” life can change in a moment.
The path God set me on that day, over twelve years ago now, is nothing like I expected. While growing up, I sat through myriad missionary presentations: the slide shows, the evangelical statistics, the appeals. None of those piqued my interest or moved my spirit. But showing up to validate and support the hands-on work of others—that is more “me,” and so that is what God gave me to do. He’s smart like that.
People here often ask what I do in Russia. The answer is simple: I water.
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. (1 Corinthians 3:7-8 NLT)
The deposits I make into my spiritual legacy will never make the “Top 40 Wow Stories of Changed Lives.” Rarely do I witness a new confession of faith or reap the harvest of souls won to Christ. But I get to hold the promised, healthy child of HIV infected parents. I give the Sunday morning message at a new church pastored by a former drug dealer. I weep at the grave of a friend’s mother who died too young.
My presence waters the tender shoots, coming up from the formerly barricaded soil of the Soviet Union, with encouragement and validation. The gifts from America put into the eager hands of orphans and widows remind them that someone does care.
This watering is my legacy in Samara—a blessing unplanned, unexpected, and certainly undeserved in terms of anything I have done in my own strength. I saw an open door, walked through (reluctantly but obediently), and each year return through with joy.
Please join me in watering the seeds planted in Russia by following my blog Jeanette Goes to Russia (again), praying for me, sending a financial blessing to the CrossRoads ministry, or just “liking” and “sharing” this post. Your presence can make a difference too.
Jeanette Morris, missionary to Samara, Russia
Now it’s your turn: What open door is before you? Is there a spiritual legacy waiting to be built in an unexpected place through you? What is your “take-away” from Jeanette’s post? Share with us in the comment section below.
Susan Gaddis, Helping you build your spiritual legacy