Giving sight to the blind was not something Samantha Chaney thought she would be doing that summer. She and her husband, Mather, live in a modest home with their two young daughters. Together they make a modest income. They don’t travel the world or donate large sums of money, but they do what they can in their sphere of influence to be a light in the darkness.
When the Chaneys’ church told them about an opportunity to host an orphan from Romania for the summer, they felt like it was something they could do—simply minister to a young girl, using their home and family life to show the love of Christ to a child who may never experience it any other way.
When 11-year-old Lilia came to stay with them, within the first week Samantha recognized the symptoms of eye trauma. It was easy for her to identify the problems because her sister had experienced multiple eye surgeries. After a thorough examination, the doctor discovered that Lilia just needed glasses, and she had needed them for years.
When Lilia put on her glasses, she walked outside and looked at the trees for the first time. She scanned the birds and the leaves and the branches, and you could see her look of amazement as she discovered what nature looks like in all its glorious detail for the first time.
Even though Samantha and Mather were fully prepared to pay for the little girl’s medical needs, the doctor donated the glasses and his services, and their church helped with the other costs.
The power of kindness
I can’t help but liken Samantha’s helping Lilia to the story of Jesus giving sight to the blind in the gospels. Jewish leaders questioned the blind man who had been miraculously touched by Christ, hoping to find some kind of evidence to arrest the healer. But the man told them, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).
The blind man wasn’t concerned about Jesus’ sin or lack thereof. He was simply grateful that the Lord healed him. In the same way, Lilia was not concerned about whether or not Samantha’s home was adequate, or how many times the Chaneys went to Sunday services. But at home in Romania, she will always remember Samantha as the woman who gave her sight in the name of Christ, and she will forever be grateful.
Many Christians think that in order to share the gospel they need to be an ordained minister or have a seminary degree. But sharing your home and your life is a ministry. You don’t need a perfect home. You just need to be willing to put aside the outward show, let people in, and live out genuine faith in front of others.
Samantha didn’t make any dramatic changes to prepare for Lilia; she found a place for her to sleep and opened her home and her heart to a little girl who needed it. She was willing to do whatever she needed to do to help, even for just a short time.
There are many different ways you can use your home to show hospitality and love to people of all different cultures and walks of life. Hosting orphans is one of them. There are many organizations that help you do this. Talk to your church and see if they have a program like this one. If not, volunteer to bring this option to the congregation. Do some research, and work to get others to open their homes along with you.
If reaching the nations interests you but you don’t want to travel overseas, sponsor an international student from a local university. They are happy to experience American traditions, and they want to know all about your faith! Nations all over the world are familiar with America’s Christian roots, so they expect you to include your faith traditions in your everyday life.
You can also host a Bible study for your neighborhood. You can focus on women, children, or young adults. If you don’t know how to get started, talk to the youth or college minister at your church or contact a college ministry on a campus in your area. These ministries would love to have your help and will find ways for you to minister to and sponsor college students.
If a Bible study is too much, plan to have lunch with one young person from your church once a month. You can host young men or women to come over on a regular basis, and these can build into a discipling relationship. The best way to reach the next generation for Christ is to have relationships with them.
Brad Branham is the Baptist Collegiate Minister at Arkansas Tech in Russellville, Arkansas, and previously at Lyon College. In both locations he has seen explosive revival among college students. Brad says his strategy is no secret. “College students are very relational. They want to know someone will spend time with them and that they care,” he says.
Brad spends a large part of his time telling students about the gospel over lunch. “I tell the students I’ll buy them lunch on one condition—if they let me tell them the gospel. I’m up front with them from the beginning, and they are okay with that.” It’s a spiritually blind generation, a confused generation, and by just spending a little time, you can be the one to bring them sight.
Another way you can reach out from your home is to support missionaries who are sponsored by your church. Ask them for opportunities to serve and help with their work from your home—give, pray, tell others about what they are doing. Send letters of encouragement. Send gifts. Sometimes the best ministry you can do is to the missionaries themselves.
We are all missionaries
Jesus has called every Christian to be a missionary. No matter where we live, whether Hometown, USA, or the jungles of Africa, God has told us all to go and preach the gospel to everyone. That means our friends and neighbors and anyone else in our sphere of influence. If you look for the opportunities, they are easy to find.
These examples are just a few easy suggestions. If you put some thought into your situation, and set your fears and busy schedules aside, you will find that your life is full of opportunities to spread the good news. Imagine what could happen if we all inconvenienced ourselves just once for the sake of the gospel and used the resources we have right in our own homes to reach others. Brad said it best. “I read once … that 90 percent of believers will grow up in church, get married, and never share the gospel with a single person. So if we could just get people to share with one person, we could change the world.”