This past week when I went to teach the Palliative Care ladies in Ng'ombe compound I strayed away from my original lesson plans and taught on encouragement. I knew that as these ladies went out into their compound to help those who were very sick and confined to their homes that encouragement would be a great issue for us to talk about. I started off by asking the ladies, "Have you ever known someone who believed in you, someone who frequently spoke words of encouragement and praise to you? The kind of person who made you feel you could do it, whatever "it" was? I waited as they sat there and thought about that question. They all said no except for one woman who said maybe her parents were like that to her. My heart was broken! How could these ladies, all between the ages of 30-50 not be able to think of someone who had encouraged them or believed in them. As I think back on my life I could name many people who have encouraged me along the way. Why should these ladies be any different? In my mind I think that it is just not fair but I continue on with the lesson explaining that God wants us to be a person who encourages others every chance that we get even if we have never felt that encouragement. The bible says in Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Then in 2 Corinthians 1:4 the bible says, "(God) comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." These ladies have such a great opportunity to encourage the sick and dying in their compound. I asked the ladies to list ways for me as to how they encourage their patients. Just by visiting the patients is a great encouragement because sometimes even family members will not even care for those who are sick. These caregivers also try to pray for their patients and help them in anyway that they can while they are in their home even if that means cleaning their house or making them a meal. As we finished up the lesson I had them make a list of at least 4 important people in their lives-family, neighbors, or patients. Then beside each name write down something they could do that week to encourage each of the people listed. Next time we meet I'll find out how their encouragement was received.
Prov. 3:27: "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act." We are not to refuse showing mercy and kindness to others when it is in our power to do it. The extent of God's mercy and kindness toward us will be dependent on our extending mercy and kindness toward others. Who knows? Our demonstration of love toward people might result in their obedience to the gospel of Christ! Please pray for these women this week as seek to encourage those they come in contact with.