And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

Hebrews 13:16 (NLT)

I facilitate a Ladies Bible Study at my church on Tuesday mornings. Because of COVID, we had to cancel in the Spring and postpone to late September to comply with Arizona guidelines. But we began with just four at a table, masks, and six feet between the tables, smaller yet so glad to be back together. I had chosen the study this past winter, Jonah, Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. God knew what we would need!

As part of the study, Priscilla asked us to think about someone who was not like us, that we could care about and show love. We batted around several ideas, yet nothing grabbed us until one of our members mentioned a woman that worked with her daughter as an aide at the low economic school where she taught. Jasmine is from Zimbabwe, a single mom with a twelve year old autistic son. She is described as the spark plug for the whole school. She has no car and takes the bus each morning to two different schools so she can drop off her son and then get to work. Initially, the suggestion was to collect money to buy her a Fry’s card, a store easy for her to walk to.

The following week, I put out an envelope and ladies slipped in money. Enthusiasm grew and in addition to the money, we decided to buy Jasmine some simple personal gifts that were just for her. We had two weeks left before the end of the study and each week more money was slipped into the envelope. On the final day, everyone brought their gifts — lotion, towels, spatulas, candy, perfume, water bottle, to name a few — we wrapped them up and all signed a card with a Bible verse printed on it. I didn’t count the money until that day and fourteen women contributed over $650. We bought a couple of Visa cards and added them to the greeting card. We could hardly wait to hear how she liked it all.

Our class member sent me an email and some pictures after sharing our surprise with Jasmine:

Jasmine was speechless, she could not believe anyone could care about her so. Every present was opened with such care and she stared at each one in amazement. She will use the gift cards to move to a decent apartment she says. A place that is clean, free of roaches and rodents, and safe. This has been her greatest dream but out of her reach. Her gratitude goes to each and everyone of the “Bible Study Ladies” for what they have done for her and her son. It was a blessing which will have an impact beyond what we see as the Lord moves in her community. Thank you to all, ( with tears) from Jasmine

We are thrilled that we had a part in making such a difference in Jasmine’s life. But I am reminded how great our God is. We thought small — a Fry’s card for groceries. He had something much bigger in mind for her — a new, safe place to live. We cannot outgive our Heavenly Father.

In a season of sadness, frustration, anxiety, dissension and isolation, doing something for someone else uplifts the spirit and encourages us to look for other ways to share the love of God. Please share your story in the comments to inspire us all.