and an extraordinary miracle!
Butch & Janet Berner teach The Elijah Challenge in Africa
February 12. 2012
“I was so excited that I awakened with a list a mile long running through my head. Like Martha, so much to do and so little time to do it in…or so it felt. Joyfully walking to tie up Buddy, our guard dog, and let the little ones out for their morning jaunt, I returned to the house to make my cup of java. Mind you, this is a morning ritual astutely carried out by my beloved husband. Find the coffee, ah yes, there it is, and on with the show of brewing my decadent steaming concoction of morning incentive.
Time was pressing on for in a few hours thirty-seven young girls, precious ones, from Lubasi Orphanage, Lushumo/Dani’s Home, and missionary friends daughters would pass through my front gate. I was thrilled, humbled, grateful, and prayerful for this to have finally have come.
In November, while ministering at Lubasi, one young and beautiful girl came to me with her serious complaint. Seems she had been invited to her extended family’s house for the December school holidays.Anxiously she asked when I would be holding Princess Day this year. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought much about it. I had done this for a couple of years in a row and wanted to host it again this year but had not made plans for it yet. At one point I had considered not even hosting it unsure if this was having any long lasting impact on those who attended.
Memory, my young friend, begged me to wait until she was back. How can you resist a child as precious as she one so needy of God’s Truth regarding her identity in Christ. So, as you expected, I hugged her and told her I would wait for her return.
I began to pray for this day. I wanted it to be as the name implied. As regal as would be fitting for our King’s daughters, fun and holy. How do you fit all that into a simple 3-4 hour day? You pray, at least that is what I did. I prayed for His plan, His peace, His wisdom. I prayed for salvation to come to those who did not know Him as King. I prayed for funds and supplies. I prayed…for what I knew I could not do to the One and Only who can change hearts.
Miracles…coincidences, call them what you may. I personally do not believe anything happens without God’s knowing and without His approval of them for one purpose…to draw us nearer to Him. Enough of that, it belongs in a different exposé.
As some of you remember, I have been facing a series of “accidents”. Dogs legs getting caught under the wheels of moving vehicles, a tsunami of coffee coursed it’s way over my laptop, melting the wires on the microwave (cooking rice in it), plugged in the 110 volt blender (a gift from my niece which I admit I boasted and coveted) to a 220 volt socket, and the hits just kept on coming.
I had a surprise birthday party planned for Butch 2 days before the Princess Day Celebration. That meant I was planning 2 major events 2 days apart from each other. I was tired, had not been sleeping well, and in a hurry with just about everything I was doing that week. Busy cutting chickens into pieces to prepare to braii (BBQ), I managed to slice into my left index finger with the scissors I was using. Blood pulsed from the cut, I screamed, ran to the bathroom and ran cold water over the injured digit. (The cold water tap has a little to no pressure in the kitchen) Butch was right there with me and wanted to use an alcohol swipe on the cut. I took it out from under the water and turned to see what he wanted to do. Memories of my Dad putting iodine on open wounds ran through my mind. Immediately I returned my pulsating wound under the water and yelled, “’NO!” Get the peroxide!”
Faster than St. Nick disappearing up the chimney Butch returned with the necessary peroxide, gauze and a face that told me it was a bigger deal than I originally thought. “Where do you want to go to get stitches?”
Deciding on a doctor here is not an easy thing. There are few whom you would trust and fewer with ready supplies and desired skills to do the job. While waiting for Butch to put the chicken in the refrigerator, I found an ice pack in the freezer and managed to get it on wrapped on my finger. Settling on our destination, we drove down the street. Just before turning the corner into the doctor’s office, Butch reached over, touched my wounded finger. At this point, my finger was pointing up as if I was singing, “This Little Light of Mine”. He began to pray and command my finger to be made well, for all pain to go and for tendons to function as they were created. Agreeing with him in this prayer we were at the doctor’s office.
At this time I was peaceful and calm. I started to peek at the wound but it was stuck to the gauze. So, I just squeezed it and prayed and just sat still until it was our turn to see the doctor. Opening the gauze, there was only blood on the bandage and there was NO blood on the finger. Bending the knuckle slowly and carefully, trying not to reopen the cut was an interesting exercise. I managed to bend it halfway. Then all the way!
A little elevated blood pressure, an antibiotic cream and new plaster strip (band-aid) and we were on the way home. A miracle. A reminder of Who is in control of all things in my life. Boy did I need that! I just didn’t like what it took to remind me of that Truth!
Collecting prizes for the games to be played and gifts of thanks for the girls to attend the party left me short on funds and long on needs. I began to pray for God to help me. To show me what to do. Again, a miracle. Lane’s Chapel had mailed gifts to be distributed to children at Lubasi. That was it. Suddenly in the midst of my very empty jar of oil, I had an abundant supply. Headbands, socks, balls, crayons and coloring books, candy, pencils (thanks to Butch’s Dad)…more than enough.
Bags filled, prizes ready, and games made. Now for the food. Yikes. Giving your best to the least is something I learned from a precious friend some time back. At this point I was hopeful. After all, God had just healed my finger and supplied for my need with gifts. I had found noodles on the reduced table at ShopRite (our grocery store), bought cabbages at the market and buns at the bakery. Meat was still to be purchased. Long story shorter, between the left-over sausage from Butch’s Braii and a few more packs we had another abundant supply.
I have 6 plastic chairs, and additional seating for 7 more. Hmmm…a need met by a local church. We were able to borrow 40 chairs without a fee as long as we could get them back for church on Sunday!
God performed many miracles to get this in place for the girls. Now I prayed for Him to capture their hearts.As I prayed over each chair. I could see the face of a child sitting in it. A child I so badly wanted to know they are a Princess of God when they are born again of King Jesus. I wanted them to know His perfect love that casts out all fear, His hope and His purpose for their lives. Imagine if this is what I wanted for the girls, what Father’s desire must be!
They came. They came late, but they came. We played, learned proper princess etiquette and broke bread together. We read Beth Moore’s, “The King’s Princess” and heard the testimony of two lovely Christian teen girls, daughters of a friend. Now was the time. As a friend said, it was “The crowning moment”. I expected about 5 or 6 girls to stand up. Oh how I doubted God. 30 of the 35 girls stood up. All of the missionary wives, and the two teens who had shared, met them with a smile and a message from their Father. A message of love so deep it changes our inheritance, even our name. As these 30 beautiful Princesses made a profession of faith, I was blown away with His love for me too.
Life doesn’t get better than the simple truth of His love which sets us free. I hope, dear one, you know this Truth. If not beloved, ask Him to reveal the truth of His love to you in a personal way. He will because He is crazy in love with you and desires to tell you so.”
Missionary with Light of Africa