Seize life!… Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves…Each day is God’s gift… Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! Ecclesiastes 9 (The Message)
They sit quietly at a table, stringing colored beads on a black cord. Their hair is white, their faces creased with the passing of years. They smile and chat with others at the table and with those who drop by. Are they in custodial care engaged in a simple task to keep minds and hands supple? Has bead stringing been prescribed as occupational therapy? Have they lost the mental capacity to do more complicated tasks?
Absolutely not! Bob and Barbara glow with enthusiasm as they relate how they went to Moscow with Josh McDowell on one of his first trips into the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. They were captured by the children they saw in orphanages and the physical and spiritual needs of the Russian people. But Bob relates that it was on a second trip—this time to Kiev in the Ukraine—that they decided that God had a special call on their lives.
Although they weren’t full time “missionaries,” they became involved as lay people in the endeavors of Operation Carelift and now Global Aid Network. They not only regularly volunteer at the GAiN Distribution Center—yes, stringing those beads for the Gospel Bead Bracelet!—but they have instilled in their children and grandchildren the joy of reaching the world. While they participated in the recent June Packing Event at the Distribution Center, one of their granddaughters (who often accompanies them) was attending Vacation Bible School at her church. She had arranged for all the VBS offerings to go toward even more Gospel Bead Bracelets!
Bob and Barbara are living examples of the attitude described by the writer of Ecclesiastes and paraphrased by Eugene Peterson. They have seized life…they grab whatever turns up…they make the most of each day. And they are helping to reach the world for Christ.