Wow, so it’s been like 10 months since we’ve written here. OOOOPS!
I’ve been thinking a lot about vision, goals, and mission, so I thought I would share with you the things I’ve been learning. Not too long ago, the beginning of March to be exact, we came across a man that asked us for help. It was a very random encounter.
Thomas and I had just left the guesthouse where we were staying and decided to go for a walk to the market. It was our morning “off” and we were on a mission to spend time together without doing any kind of ministry. Ha (you would think I would learn by now that life is ministry)! Anyways, we walk outside and stroll past a guy whose name I honestly can’t remember. He turns around, looks at us, and says, “hey, are you guys missionaries?” We both turned and looked at him, hesitating of course because this is our time off and danget I am not a missionary right now and I will hear no evil, see no evil, for the next 2 hours… but then we said “um, yeah, yeah we are.”
Thomas was wearing a Waco shirt that this guy thought stood for some acronym for a ministry. Nope, just loving life in his Waco tee. We stopped to talk with him and it turned out that he was American, hailing from California. Two years ago, he ended up in a knife fight and landed himself in prison in Cambodia for assault. Somewhere you definitely DON’T want to spend time. He began to share about his situation– his passport was expired, he had called his family for money but couldn’t get it until the Embassy gave him a temporary ID, he had no food, no money, nowhere to stay, etc, etc.
I will tell you that my BS radar is high and I couldn’t read the situation of whether he was being honest or not. But, then it struck me. Who really cares? This guy had went to countless “ministries” throughout the morning. All he wanted was to know where the Teen Challenge location was because he thought maybe they would help after so many places had turned him away. He was a man so he didn’t fit the scope for women ministry, he wasn’t in school so he couldn’t stay at a dorm, he wasn’t homeless so he couldn’t get a room, etc.
The first words out of his mouth were “are you missionaries?” because somewhere he had learned that people who love Jesus, love you and help you. When you are in a dire situation, that is who you find. And everyone turned him away. Are you serious???
Maybe, just maybe, he asked us that because he thinks Christians are suckers and will throw money at any kind of problem they encounter. Maybe, just maybe, he went and spent the money we gave him on drugs. I honestly have no idea.
But, you know what? That’s ok. I don’t have to know. We are entrusted with the things we’ve been given in order to point to Jesus and say hey, bless you during this difficult time. I have no idea if you’re lying to me, but in me you see Jesus and so I am going to do what He would do. I’m going to give.
Sometimes, I find myself analyzing a situation because I don’t want to encourage people to be reliant. I don’t want to see the same person begging on the street for their entire life when they could go learn a skill and work for themselves. I want them to take ownership and find it in themselves to live up to their potential. But, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t listen to Holy Spirit when he says just do it.
We prayed for this guy, told him that God was blessing him and if he used it differently then that was up to him. And then we walked away and let it go.
I was confused and burdened that the church and people that plant their flag with a cross on it basically said “hope it works out, we’ll catch ya later, sorry not today.” Can we please not be those people? Let’s be people that look at the hurt and the dying and the battered and say, “you know what, today I see you and I choose to bless you even when I have no idea of the outcome.” To give up control and micro-managing and just say bless you.
I’m working on this in myself. Will you join me? When we all make the conscious decision to look into the situations of others, the world gets a little bit better with each of those choices.