The Cry Vol 17 No 2 .1

Apprenticing Obedience

Esdrianne Cohen

Something happened to me on the day of the children’s party (for children whose mothers participate in Projeto Ester). That day I had to run some errands and took a bus to arrive at the project.  When I signaled for my stop and stepped off the bus, I fell and hit my knee on the ground. Instantly, I felt horrible pain and was unable to get up off the ground.  A man helped me stand up and I had to tell him I was unable to walk. Oh no!

My mind was spinning. I thought, “I need to be okay, because today is the children’s party and I need to be there…” I managed to make it to the project. I can still remember, as if it were today, the words of my daughter Isabella, who told me, “Mother, you love Jesus very much, you’re being obedient in doing what the Lord requests. Even in so much pain, you’re worried about the children and their well-being.”

Those words caused me to reflect on obedience, on my obedience! When I am at Projeto Ester, I feel nourished in obedience by seeing what God has done in the lives of the women. Through them I see how it is good to be obedient to what the Father wants in my life, and how that impacts others.

Reflecting on my life and ministry, the passage from John 4:31-34 comes to mind: “Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”  But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”  “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’”

When I read this passage, I am reminded of a Bible study I have which says: “…see how much the disciples are concerned for the well-being of Jesus, but also how much they still need to learn.  That’s what we must do, learn from the Lord.  Every day is an apprenticeship in obedience.  One of the things that draws our attention in this chapter is how much Jesus sought to please the Father when he affirmed:  ‘My food is to do the will of he who sent me…It’s as if he said: What sustains me, what builds me up, what gives me strength […] Is to do the will of my Father, to submit to Him, to do the will of the one who entrusted me with a mission, to do the will of the one who waits on me to realize his works. It’s as if he said to his disciples: Don’t worry yourselves.  Being obedient, I’m fed.”

For me, this year has been a year of learning, for this was the year in which we opened the doors of Projeto Ester.  With these doors open, I have learned to be simple like Jesus, to take advantage of every moment. During my time on the street, I seek to make Jesus known among the poorest of the poor, and with my own eyes I can see the power of God reaching children, adolescents, youth and women.

 

It is beautiful to see what God has done during my time there. I can say that nothing has been easy. Many times I have thought of giving it all up, many times I have become discouraged.  There are always conflicts between the women and sometimes with me as well.  Occasionally, I stop and ask myself “What am I doing here?” But I have been confronted by the love of God for each one of them, and this love invades my heart and gives me strength and courage to complete my part in God’s plan for their lives.

As the author of the Bible study cited above wrote, “We need to learn that obedience is a divine principle and not a mere obligation.” God has given us an opportunity to choose between practicing good or evil, between obedience or disobedience, between life and death, blessings and curses. It makes a difference. As a wise person once said, “between desire and action lies obedience.” May we choose to say, “Lord, I want to do your will,” and be obedient to our callings!

*Translated by Jenna Pashley Smith
Note: The author of the cited bible study passages is unknown.

Esdrianne and her spouse and three children look forward to another wonderful year with Projecto Ester.


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