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Day 1 

This year our morning devotionals focus on the Prayer of St. Francis.  It is a great prayer that would help make our world better, and our lives, too.  Today’s focus was “Where there is despair, let us sow hope.”

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”  — Desmond Tutu

I invite you to pray the Prayer of St. Francis to start each day this week. See what happens!

Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

Day 2

Where there is darkness, (let me sow) light; And where there is sadness, (let me sow) joy.

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” ― William Shakespeare

Many people today believe that darkness is winning over light! I don’t! Here are a few reasons why: (That’s me helping to make a wheel chair.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. – John 1:5

Day 3

Today’s focus from the Prayer of St. Francis is, “Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.”

Plato put it this way, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

George Washington Carver also had a wise insight:
“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life, you will have been all of these.”

The Apostle Paul wrote:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Today I saw a very concerned mother talk to Dr. Paul the Pediatrician (not me). I could tell by her brow that she was anxious and fearful. Dr. Paul reassured that her child is fine and will be okay. Her brow changed to relief which quickly led to joy. How great it is when we hear our child or grandchild is going to be okay! I’ll bet the mother will sleep a lot better tonight and in the days to come!

Today I witnessed the Prayer of St. Francis come to life. “Where there’s despair or sadness in life, let me sow joy!” Dr. Paul was definitely an instrument of peace!

Do you know someone who is going through a tough time? Maybe you can be instrument of God’s peace.

Day 4

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston Churchill

Today’s focus from the Prayer of St. Francis is “For it is giving that we receive.” Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The Dalai Lama once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

There is a Buddhist saying that reads, “If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”

I am confident you could ask any of the doctors, interpreters, or helpers on this Medical Mission Trip and they would be all in on the previous quotes. We don’t give to get, but when we give —we get!

When I became an abuelo (grandpa), I really came to appreciate that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Bringing joy to someone else is the best feeling ever!

Do you know someone who needs some joy? Go give ‘em!

Day 5

Now we come to one of the most difficult phrases in the Prayer of St. Francis — “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
– “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis Smedes
– “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
– “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” –William Blake

“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

Okay I’m going to say something that we might not like. Are you sitting down? Forgiveness is not an option! For those of us trying to follow Jesus, we have to forgive. Jesus offered forgiveness throughout his ministry. Even on the cross, he exclaimed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I truly believe forgiveness is the answer to most of life’s problems. It is amazing how long we can let words fester. Stormie Omartian said, “Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free.” I want you to experience freedom versus prison.

Is there someone you need to forgive? Forgive it up!

Forgiveness is an act of grace. Our Medical Mission Trip has been an act grace.

Final Summary

Today we come to the final phrase in the Prayer of St. Francis, “And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”

“Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” – Jesus (Matthew 10:39)

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

One of my favorite scriptures is John 10:10 where Jesus says, “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” I believe we can experience full, abundant, and eternal life here on earth! Those moments in life when we truly lived. I still remember when I cradled our daughter, Lisa, for the very first time after she was born. This past week those of us who participated on our Faith in Practice Medical Mission Trip experienced life to the full. We all supported helping those in need in whatever way we could. And we know that it made a difference in the lives of individuals and of families. Each of us leaves with an album of moments in time when we brought joy, hope and healing to someone else.

The week also served as an example of what we can do together if we combine our God-given gifts in service to others. Here’s a summary of our Team Stats:
· Approximately 1350 patient clinic visits, adults and children
· 275 patients referred and scheduled for surgeries
· 130 hearing aids were given out
· Multiple women screened for cervical cancer and treated if need be
· Dozens of custom wheelchairs built and dispensed, plus canes and walkers
· Over 100 arthritic joints injected with cortisone
· Over 275 reading glasses fitted

Full and abundant life means we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We brought much joy and shed some tears. Our primary goal was to be healing instruments of God’s grace and peace. And one of the great byproducts of blessing others is that we are blessed! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

-Rev. Paul Nazarian