When Pressure Submits to Prayer: Messenger Bags for Missions

It was just a simple question asked of me over coffee with a friend at Panera: “Will you donate a themed bag for the purse party?” But for me, that question caused me to stare unseeingly into my cooling cup of coffee with a sense of dread. I wanted to say, “No,” and provide a long list of reasons why I couldn’t, but I’m a people pleaser and feared the thought of disappointing my friend even more than I lamented the task of finding and filling a purse. So I smiled and said, “Sure,” then wracked my brain over the next several days thoroughly convinced that my creative juices had somehow all dried up.

            Then it came to me. I was clipping coupons and managed among the sunscreen and frozen fish sticks ads to consider God’s incredible creativity when He formed the earth and all that’s in it in only six days. I’d been struggling with what purse to buy and how to fill it, when pointing to God’s creativity was the key to both. My mind raced with ideas to include for each day such as sunglasses for the day He made the sun and a Red Lobster gift card for Day 5 when He made fish and birds. Filling the imaginary bag became a family project as my daughter even made calls from college to contribute her suggestions.

            I dug out my sewing machine and dusted it off, then set to work creating a unique purse in which to fill with the Six Days of Creation treasures we’d acquired. I brought the finished purse to my school the next morning and showed it to my colleagues feeling confident that they would give me an honest assessment of it.

            What resulted fascinates me even as I write. The purse was a hit and over the course of the next four months I made more in various colors and sizes and simply hung them inside my classroom doorway. Teachers, parents, and even some students made their way to my classroom each day to peruse the bags that I continued to bring. I affectionately called the purses Messenger Bags for Missions collecting donations as each one made its way onto the shoulder of its new owner.

            My mission is India, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve there on three short-term trips. This fall my husband and children will be serving with me providing medical screenings for Dalits in an effort to not only improve their health and teach hygiene but to share the love of Christ in tangible ways, as well. The Messenger Bags for Missions raised the first $1000.00 needed for the trip.

            I hadn’t wanted to donate a themed bag for the purse party because I thought I was too busy preparing to serve to serve, but God gifted me with creativity and when I used that gift for others, His blessings overflowed in unimaginable ways. I don’t know if the Six Days of Creation Purse will be a hit at the WOW Purse Party, but I do know that God used the making of that first bag to move my family closer to Dalits who desperately need to hear that they are a part of His masterful creativity made in His very own image.  

            Ten more Messenger Bags have become Mommy Bags that will be sold at the WOW Purse Party to support local missions. When I was asked to make these, as well, this time I didn’t hesitate but rather jumped at the opportunity smiling to myself because who is a better messenger for Christ than a mom lovingly serving her family and living out her faith in front of her children? Some are called to “go”, some are called to “stay”; each one of us is called to be His messengers wherever He has placed us.