-An Inspirational Story by Jonnett T.
Lis Detweiler is an amazing woman that inspires me so much. She is the epitome of selflessly giving of yourself to serve others. Lis recently came to serve BCI’s children for two weeks in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. She came with a team from her church in Pennsylvania, USA. I have been affected by all of the missionaries that have come to serve with BCI, but Lis affected me in tremendous ways. I have never seen a more selfless, caring, willing, person in all of my life.
When I talk to people about coming on missions trips or giving of themselves in a deeper capacity for the Kingdom, I am met with a myriad of responses. Most of the responses are something like: “I have no skills to give”, “I don’t have enough money or time”, “I am scared to travel far away from home. What if I get sick or hurt?”, “I want to… some day”.
I have given many of these reasons when God asks me to do things that I think are “crazy”. A lot of times, these answers come from a place of fear or uncertainty. Uncertainty about whether or not this is God’s will or not. I have seen so many people (and I have been this person at times) who keep waiting and waiting for a sign from above to prove to them that going on a missions trip or sponsoring a child is God’s will. When they don’t hear these clear cut “words from God” they do nothing. But, God has already told us in His Word that we are to preach the gospel to the lost and to serve the least of these and to rescue the widows and orphans. I personally believe that by serving in such capacities, you are doing God’s will and He is pleased.
Lis is a person that serves God at all costs. She even signs up to serve when she is not sure in what capacity she will be able to serve. I don’t mean, she doesn’t know if her skills will be useful. I mean, even if she doesn’t know if she is physically able to serve-she goes anyway.
Let me explain. Lis was born with a rare disease called arthrogryposis. Several things can cause arthrogryposis but Lis believes that her mother contracted a virus while she was pregnant with Lis. The disease is symptomatic of curved joints and causes cartilage to grow around joints rendering some of Lis’s muscles useless or severely stiff. She was also born with severely deformed feet, they resembled club feet. As a baby and a toddler, she had surgery to reconstruct her feet and to lengthen her heel cord.
Through all of her trials and struggles Lis only gives praise to God. She is able to get around using crutches and she praises God for the mobility that she has. I was absolutely amazed to watch Lis get around town. She doesn’t just simply walk with the crutches. She uses her arms to swing the crutches in front of her and then swing both legs to the side to move them forward. The streets of Debre Zeit are rough and I was amazed at watching how strong Lis is.
Even though getting around was difficult for her, she did not let it affect her time here. Lis was always on the go, wanting to serve in many different capacities. There were times during her trip when I was really tired and just wanted to rest but then I would see Lis constantly on the go and she inspired me to overcome my weariness and keep working.
The main thing that impressed me so much about Lis is her constant cheery attitude. She is a woman whose heart has been captured by God and she is fully living the fruit of the Spirit. She has such a love for people that it’s contagious, she is constantly full of joy-no matter the circumstances, she has a kind of peace that beats all human reasoning.
When deciding whether or not to come on the trip she had many different concerns going through her mind. But prayer and talking to her dad got her through. God gave her strength and her dad helped her to see that she could overcome the concerns that she had.
Lis fell in love with Ethiopia and she is so glad that she took a step of faith and came to serve God here. We can confidently say that her first missions trip was a success. Lis, I just want you to know that we all fell in love with you and we see God in you and that inspires us to continue with the work we are doing.