It’s not to often that any of us have the opportunity to attend a 100th Birthday Party. 100 years is a long time but that is how old the lady we affectionately call “Aunt Margaret” is. When she was born, the Games of the V Olympiad were held in Stockholm, Sweden and the Titanic made it’s one and only voyage. Now 100 years later we were gathered in a beautifully decorated common room filled with excited people, an electric atmosphere and a great looking cake. Aunt Margaret(on the right) had been a missionary in Kenya, Africa for 30 years and worked with my mother-in-law June Deacon (on the left) for much of that time.
Lesson #1 – Never Underestimate The Seeds You Are Planting.
One of Aunt Margaret’s main roles in Kenya was teaching. This is what one of the schools she taught at looks like today.
Aunt Margaret had one student who had great potential but his family were not able to afford to dress him very well. This bothered her greatly and she decided to buy him shoes and clothes because the compassion she had would not let her just sit and not get involved. Time passed, the student graduated and life went on. A couple of years ago this man came to Canada. While here he asked if Margaret Cantwell was still living. At this point, she was 98 and so the odds of her still being alive weren’t the greatest so he thought. Of course the answer was “Yes” and arrangements for him to once again meet his teacher at the Retirement Village where she lived, were made. For teacher and student this was a very special moment. He walked into she small room, all six feet and six inches of him, got down on his knees and asked her to pray for him one more time. Why? Because he is the head of 7,000 churches in Uganda and 17,000 in Africa with an attendance of 7,000,000 people.
Never underestimate the seeds you are planting.
When I think of this story I think of a young adult in our church who rallied our church to provide shoes for Casa Posibilidades – Mexico. So far, we have brought in 800 pairs of shoes and are we are hoping to hit 1000. Maybe in 50 years someone will be looking for Miranda to say thanks for investing in them. That would be awesome.
#2 Never Underestimate Your Influence
Getting back to the Birthday Party. One of the first people I saw was a lady we have known for 15 years who used to host and lead one of our churches Small Group Bible Studies. I hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while so it was great to catch up. When we came to the Open Mike portion of the afternoon, our friend got up and talked about how she had coffee with Aunt Marg on a regular basis for over 6 years. That truly is one of the reasons she is still alive today. Those talks and those prayers got her through some of the most difficult times of her life.
Never Underestimate Your Influence
#3 Never Underestimate Your Ability To Make A Difference
At 100, Aunt Margaret is slowing down, her hearing is not as sharp and her eyesight is fading but she is able to whip around in her wheel chair like she is practicing for the Indy 500:) I think most people at her age and many who are much younger think, “My time has past, what can I do to make a difference?” At the end of the evening for me came the biggest surprise. The final speaker who works in the Retirement Village, told us that every evening when it’s quiet because most of the seniors have gone to bed, Aunt Margaret will wheel herself around her floor, stop at each room and pray for each person. Amazing if you ask me.
The regular routine of life and just trying to make it through the day can cause us to miss out on wonderful opportunities. Opportunities to help the less fortunate, with and hand up not a hand out. Opportunities to be a sounding board and safe place for someone to share their life with you. Opportunities to quit worrying about what you cannot do and do what you can do to be a blessing.
Thanks for the lessons Aunt Margaret after 100 years you have not lost the gift of teaching.