Friday, July 18, 2014

"Are Their Souls Not Worth $200?"

Some time ago on Facebook, I got a message from (what I thought was...) my Bishop.  He was very kind and ministering to me, asking about my walk, quoting scripture, and even giving me the link to his blog to read.  These messages happened over several days, and I was rather enjoying our little private conversations. 

One day the Bishop asked me to donate to a particular orphanage in Nigeria, and sent me the link to it.  As it was Lent, he related this gift to our Lenten obligation to give to the poor and needy.  He didn't ask for a specific amount, but asked if I could give whatever I could, telling me what the children needed. Bishop C. said this organization was very close to his heart and he was personally asking several parishioners  to donate.  He said the money had to be sent to an individual who ran the orphanage, and then soon, I got an email from that individual begging for money.

As I am the ‘research girl’, I went to the website and checked everything.  I checked out the nonprofit status, searched their domain registry, scoured the internet for information about the Nigerian orphanage.  What I found was rather ambiguous.  The nonprofit status had been revoked,  the domain registry seemed a little odd, and I definitely didn't like sending money to an individual, as I had worked for a nonprofit and I knew that all donations should be made to the organization.  I had a quandary.

I questioned the Bishop, and he re-assured me, but I was still very wary (Not of the Bishop, I thought maybe someone had taken advantage of him).  The only other solution was to talk to my Priest.  I talked to Father J. and voiced my concerns about this website/setup and how I didn't really want to say ‘no’ to the Bishop (He was my Bishop!).  Father J., reassured me that any donation the Bishop would ask was not mandatory and that I could ask for another avenue of donation that I would feel more comfortable with.  After leaving Father, I felt better and thought I would fully trust what the Bishop was telling me.  However, I delayed and delayed sending the money.  

The next time I went to confession, I was going to confess my delay in obedience, but I found I couldn't get the words out to speak of this failing.  I tried twice, but my mouth wouldn't form the words.  I thought that was strange, but decided to trust God and finished with my confession.   Eventually I did send the $ to the "orphanage".  

A few days later, there was a message on Facebook from the real Bishop C.  that someone had made a duplicate Facebook Page of him and had been impersonating him in seeking donations.  He said he had no affiliation with this organization and had reported it to Facebook.  

So it was all a scam!  My hunch was right!  I felt hurt, vulnerable, and I was so angry at the people who had done this! 

I am a very direct person, I wanted to know why God allowed this.  If it is allowed by God then there is always a reason, God wastes nothing.   So I asked God, "Lord, why did we take this trip around the mountain?"  

The answer was, "Are their souls not worth $200?"

"Yes Lord, their souls are worth far more than that, infinitely more."

I get it.  Yes, he could have asked me to pray, but with the theft committed against me I had an emotional investment in the souls that had done this, I was angry.  He wanted me to take that energy of anger that was directed toward them in a negative way and turn it to an offering to the Father FOR the salvation of their souls. 

The Prayer was offered for them, with much hurt in my heart, and as I prayed I found that the hurt in me was healed, and at the end of the Stations that I offered for them, I found I loved them as if they were my own children, and I was begging God for their salvation. 

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