We have a friend & former classmate who is a missionary in Uganda. It is an amazing life he and his wife live there in honor of Christ, and I am constantly challenged and encouraged by them. I want to share a brief story of his from an email I got today. It is just so powerful. I'll let it speak for itself:
There is woman that I have noticed sleeping on the streets. She stays next to the road and is camped out near a stump. I have had strange feelings about her. No one will approach her. They are afraid of her. She stares hard at me whenever I pass by.
Because of these strange feelings I asked around about her... I was told that she is a witch and she was sent away/banished from her village because she ate her children. wow she really needs prayer....
I wrote this message a few days ago. While I was writing this I felt strongly that I should go and help the woman who ate her children.The verse "think of others as better than yourself" kept coming to mind.Think of a witch who ate her children as better than myself?
Several years ago I saw a homeless man in Portland who was curled up on a park bench in the cold. I debated with myself as to whether I should help or not. I didn't help him. I did like everybody else and I ignored him. When I got home to my parents house I felt terrible. I decided to sleep outside on the deck. It was cold! I stayed up all night praying for Portland. I deeply regretted not helping that guy. I didn't want that to happen again.
so the other evening when I felt moved to help the woman in the cold I didn't hesitate.
It was about 10:30 at night and I got in the truck and drove to the stump that she sleeps next too. The city council wanted her to leave that place so they cut down the tree that she was sleeping under. She didn't leave. There are actually two women who live there. (Both are said to be witches)
As I drove down the quiet dark streets I thought...the Lord loves this woman. She may be a witch, a murderer and a cannibal, and Lord may hate what she has done but he loves her.
I got out of the truck and saw the old woman sit up. I greeted her in Rutoro and told her that I am a Christian. I commented on how cold it is. She told me that she loves Jesus and that she prays to Mary. She showed me her rosaries.
I handed her the two thick blankets and she was very thankful.
She told me in Rutoro that she paid 1000 shillings for a thin bed sheet and another 1000 for a piece of plastic to wrap up in. That was all she had to keep her warm, a thin bed sheet and a piece of black plastic. She has no more money. She told me how cold she is. She thanked me over and over for the blankets and for caring. She sat there smiling.
Just thank the Lord.
I knelt down and we talked some more in broken Rutoro and Swahili.She told me that her two children had died and now she lives there.I shook my head that I knew. Everyone knows. These two women are the outcasts of Fort Portal.
I told her to sleep well.She wrapped up in the blankets and thanked me again as I got in the truck and turned on the heater.
Thank you Lord for encouraging me to do this.
While she was a sinner...while I was a sinner...Christ died for us.
The love that God has for us is so amazing.
She is made in the image of God.
The Lord has been working on my heart and it has come from this...
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Phillipian 2:3-5 NIV
...This has been a tough challenge for me. I don't have a problem getting out there and helping people. Or spending time with the poor or sharing Jesus with my Muslim friends. But humbly thinking of others as better than myself ...that's tough.
It all comes down to my attitude, my heart and my pride.
We can do the things that Jesus did but not do them like Jesus did.
I want so much to have the same attitudes that Jesus had (and has.)That is where this struggle lies for me...
If we are willing to learn the Lord is willing to teach.
Isn't it amazing how the Lord can use those in society that people see as worthless to teach us valuable lessons. What is the Lord teaching you?