From the beginning I knew God was working on Jasmine*. She was different than the other youth in the group at camp. Sweet and cheerful most of the time, I noticed her alone and introspective when she thought no-one was watching.
"Are you okay?" I asked during one of these fleeting moments. "Sure," she replied. But she wasn't convinced and neither was I.
Later that night Jasmine caught me alone as I walked to our cabin. "Thank you for not pressing me. I don't think I'm really okay." I braced myself, but nothing could prepare me for the story this smiley young girl began as tears streamed down her face. "My parents are divorced," she started. "My dad just got of prison. He's been there for several years. I think he got out because he was good or something. I just don't know if I should see him or not. I mean I want to, but he always has a different girlfriend. Last time saw him, I told him that I didn't want to meet every girl...not until they were living together. I don't think he'll get married. But now his girlfriend is pregnant and she's only 19 years old. He can be so cruel to me. I don't want to get hurt again. Maybe I can't forgive him. But maybe I should. What do you think?"
"Wow. Jesus, I can't do this," I thought. "No, but I can," He whispered. I'm not even sure exactly what I said. I focused in on forgiving because we've been forgiven...about loving even when it might hurt, but not letting fear control us. Then I prayed with Jasmine. I prayed for comfort and peace. I prayed for a spirit of forgiveness to fall upon her. I prayed for restoration. And when I ran out of words, I let her cry on my shoulder.
The last night of camp arrived. I was frustrated. We hadn't raised as much support as we needed and I was discouraged to the point of being panicky about how we're going to make this ministry work. In my gloomy mood, we prepared to say our goodbyes and Jasmine slipped a note into my hand. "It's for you and Steve," she said.
As we read the letter together in our cabin late that night. Tears filled my eyes and I begged for the Lord's forgiveness. "Thank you," it said. "I became a Christian this week. You both taught me that I have a purpose. I know that God loves me." Then four $1 bills fell out of the folded paper. "Your work is important. I'm sorry it's not more."
Tonight those bills are tucked into my billfold, waiting to be miraculously multiplied for an extra-special ministry purpose. I am humbled and convicted by the Jasmine's sacrifice. And I am reminded that God's treasure is so much more precious and valuable than any amount of money.
* Name has been changed.