Sunday, October 20, 2013

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” ― Booker T. Washington

In a 1998 article in Christian History magazine, Rodney Stark said: "In a world lacking social services, Christians were their brothers' keepers. At the end of the second century AD, Tertullian wrote that while pagan temples spend their donations "on feasts and drinking bouts," Christians spent theirs "to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined to the house." These claims concerning Christian charity were confirmed by pagans as well. The pagan Emperor Julian complained, "The impious Galileans (Christians) support not only their poor, but ours as well."  This is how I believe we are supposed to live if we are truly Christian.  I know it feels good to hold hands and sing praise songs, but that is all meaningless if it doesn't translate into Christian love that helps and heals others--all others.  Charles de Lint said, “I don't want to live in the kind of world where we don't look out for each other.  Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand.  I can't change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”  I guess that has become our mantra here.  We do our bit.  We can't do a lot, we can't do everything, we can't cure malaria, or feed all the poor, or send every child to school, but we can do what we can with what we have, and that is what we do.  It doesn't look like much, and it doesn't feel like much--at least not to us.  There are many, many times when we wonder if we are making any difference at all by our presence and work here.  Others from all walks of life and all strata of local society tell us that we are beloved and have done so very much for Bunda and all of Tanzania, yet we discount even that.  There is a saying that there are none so blind as those who will not see.  I guess that' us.  I think it's because if we feel we really are doing something big and grand that we will be, as my grandmother used to say, "putting on airs."  To avoid the sin of pride, we refuse to accept that what we are doing is worthwhile, even though we tell all who help us how much good they are doing by supporting our work.  Doesn't make sense, does it?  I cannot speak for other missionaries, but I know that no matter how much I do, it never seems to be enough.  Still, if someone comes for help, no matter what we are doing, we take the time to listen and to help as much as we can, if we can.  Maybe that's the real way of following the call of God that led us here.  All I know is that we are happier here than we have ever been anywhere in spite of the physical problems, and we know in our hearts that this is what we have been called to do and will continue to do until we are called to our other home.  Keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours.

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