Back in 2007, we were invited to attend a graduation ceremony at a local Bible school operated by one our missionary friends from Liberia. John was asked to help hand out diplomas and pose for photos with each of the graduates.
A couple of days ago, John was walking down the road when he was stopped by a man on a motorcycle. It turns out this man was one of the graduates from that Bible school eight years ago. His name is Pastor Freddy. He was overjoyed to see John after so many years. He is now a pastor with his own small church in Bamako.
Yesterday, we visited Pastor Freddy’s church, which is held in one of the large marketplaces near our house. He was extremely excited to see us. He pulled out the picture of John handing him his diploma from years ago. He told us how important the photo is to him and how he has been keeping it close to his heart. This was a defining moment for us. We sometimes question how effective our ministry is and if we are really making a difference. And here was a moment in time from many years ago that we thought was a small and insignificant gesture for a friend. Little did we know the powerful impact it had left on a future pastor and how it would continue to provide him encouragement years after. Never underestimate the lasting impressions you will have on others.