My Mother’s Eyes

Posted: August 29, 2017 by Patrice Miles in Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Prayer, SIM

Last Import - 405 of 581My mom accompanied us back to Nigeria to help us set up our home and learn more about our ministries. I realized while she was here that I have grown very accustomed to the poor and needy around me. Everywhere you go in Jos you are confronted with street kids, the disabled and the poor. I have grown so accustomed to them that they have become part of the African scenery for me. I have come to terms with the fact that I cannot save everyone and thankfully God hasn’t called me to Nigeria to do that. God has placed people in my life over the past 4 years to help and show his love to. Those I am blessed to serve are represented as 47 orphans along with their 30 caregivers, my 8 staff at CARE Africa, our house help and several Nigerian young people that are like daughters and sons to me. These relationships I have steadily built over the years and they go very deep, but the burden of saving the world I had to give over to God- otherwise I was going to go crazy.

15724714_753338044817434_447813392314878415_oI have been content in this until the pain in my mother’s eyes one day caused me to realize there is a cost to having given up the burden of saving the world.  I no longer feel the overwhelming emotions of sorrow, compassion, sadness or hopelessness when I see the faces of poverty. I don’t feel guilty walking out of store with my cheese and boxed cereal purchase while street kids, Jolie’s age, come with their empty bowls begging for food. My mom’s eyes were sad and hurting for these people every time she would see them. All this is not to say that I turn a blind eye.  We keep small denominations of Niara (dollars) and biscuits (food) to discreetly give to those we can, but there are always more hands then we can possibly fill. It is a gaping hole with no end in sight

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:11 that the poor will never cease from the land. The book When Helping Hurts tell us that by giving small Niara or food to the poor we are just putting a band aid on a problem that needs mentoring and discipleship to break the cycle. I can’t build relationships with every beggar so should I just do nothing? Do I just continue putting Band-Aids on a bigger problem so I feel better about myself?  I don’t know, but I am in prayer about it. Pray with me and for me. Pray that God will show both you and me His will regarding the poor and needy. The Bible calls us to do it, but the question is “how to do it in a way that satisfies God – not man” . Pray for me and I will pray for you as we both seek his direction in this.

  1. Sylvia Eikenberry says:

    Thank you for sharing your story about the poor street kids in Jos. Yes, we help those who God sends our way. I can picture them following you around in the markets and streets. With love and prayers for you in your ministries in Jos, Sylvia

  2. Ackley, Dick says:

    I love the way you wrote that last paragraph. It’s a struggle every missionary faces. We need to discuss this more in our SIMGo training. When you get all the answers, let me know, ha!


  3. melanie says:

    Thank you for sharing this and requesting prayers. It is amazing that in 2017 we still can’t figure out a way to help those who are not able to help themselves without creating a dependency on us instead of the Lord. I agree when the Lord answers let us all know what he says.

  4. Aaron Polsgrove says:

    Love this post! We are not called to solve world hunger or poverty, because as you wisely pointed out, the Bible says the poor will always be with us. A few verses come to mind: Proverbs 22:8, Proverbs 19:17, and Matthew 25:40. Keep doing what you’re doing, just do it more!


    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Tina Gibbs says:

    Thank yo for this post, Patrice, this is the same dilema and prayer I pray for us here in Gembu. When Helping Hurts was one of the most revolutionary books to help me understand what helping really looks like and what it is. But the day to day here with needs everywhere, it would feel better to give everything away that we have for ministry and then ministry would have to stop. The needs are non-stop. I will be praying for you as you navigate this too. Love and hugs from Taraba State and prayers going up for all of you in your transition.

  6. Lia Vassiliades says:

    this is beautiful understanding sweet girl – -thank you for always sharing such vulnerable and honest reality of the challenge to serve, obey, love as God calls – – you challenge me to look deeper every time you share – love you and will pray

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