Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Walking Through the Slums of Africa

I don’t know if you read my last blog post, but in it I talked about a woman in the slum who is suffering from an alcohol addiction. As a group we decided that we would pray for her every day and visit her once this week to offer support and encouragement. Today I walked over to the slum to do my part and see how she was doing. Once I arrived, she asked me to come into her house and talk for a while. I walked in and she graciously offered me a glass of milk. We sat down and talked to each other and it was very good. She said that she has been drinking less and less alcohol every day since we had our last meeting. Please pray for her as she continues to work through her addiction.

After we talked for a while, she begged me to go and take a look at her garden. She is so proud of it. She has a very small plot of government owned land where they allow her to grow food, provided she takes care of the trees that the government wants to grow. I asked her if her garden was close by, and she promised that it was so we began to walk to her garden. We started walking and about 15 minutes into our walk I asked her if we were close and she replied, “Yes, it’s just right up here.” So we kept walking. While we were walking we stopped at several places and she introduced me to her relatives and friends. During our walk I would periodically ask her if we were close and she kept saying yes. By the time we finally arrived to her garden, we had walked for over an hour. After we looked around a little bit, I told her that I needed to return home. So we walked about another 15 minutes where I could finally get some transportation. As we were getting close she thanked me for walking with her. She said that everyone will now think I am an important person, because I was walking around with a “mzungu” (white person). I laughed at it, even though she is right. They do think that. I think it is funny how being over here in Kenya you are instantly famous and important because of your skin color. Finally, we arrived to our destination and we said goodbye and I headed home.

It was a good trip, but of course, I got sunburned. We’re so close to the sun over here. My tan lines are very impressive. Anyways, while we were walking I kept having a Bible verse pop into my mind. Matt 5:41 “If a soldier demands you carry his gear a mile, then carry it for him two miles.” The whole time we were walking I kept thinking about how inconvenient this was making my day. I know this isn’t good, but it’s true. I mean we were walking in the complete opposite direction of where I live, and she kept saying we were close when we were not. Obviously, her and I have a very different definition of what the word “close” means. But I was glad I went. I think that’s what Jesus would have done. I don’t want to just be the person that hands this woman food one day a week. I want her to know that I actually care about her and genuinely want to get to know her. I think that’s what it really means to love someone. I mean you can give away everything you own to the poor, but if you don’t have love then what’s it matter. It’s not about the deed that you do, it is about loving that person. It’s not the point that I walked over an hour, the point was showing love and showing this woman that she is worth my time and that I genuinely care about her. I was glad I went even though throughout much of the trip I had the wrong attitude. It helped teach me how to better love people.

Maybe there is someone in your life that is, to be honest, just an inconvenience to you. They constantly want to take up your time. Maybe they are lonely or just really look up to you. They are always asking you to do stuff for them. The truth is you have to set boundaries. The truth is that you can’t spend time with everybody. But still, I want to encourage you to “go the extra mile” with the people in your life. Maybe a lonely friend is trying to talk to you. Instead of just trying to end the conversation and move on with your life… Stop!... Talk to that person and show a genuine interest and concern in their life. Show this person that they are valuable and you are honored and blessed to spend time with him. I mean lets be honest, Jesus could have stayed in heaven and it would have been much more convenient. But he came down and lived with us for more than 30 years, and he now lives inside of us. He does all this to show us that we are worth a lot to him and he wants to be with us.

Show this same love to the people in your life. If someone ask you to walk a mile with them, than go two. If someone asks you to go eat dinner then invite them to your house afterwards to spend more time with them. (Unless it’s a date that is not going to good!) It’s never an inconvenience to love people, because it brings great joy to the Father.

Be blessed!

2 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. Thank you so much for the encouragement to "go the extra mile"...literally. I think it's great this woman is inviting you into her life and sharing her relationships with you. Such a gift.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your commitment and follow-through for a soul is a beautiful illustration of Christ's love. There's this phrase that my husband and I have adopted, "Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone." (it's from Andy Stanley). You've just given the perfect example here. Thank you for your vulnerability and transparency also - you made sure we know you're human. ;-) But you also answered for the way we're to combat our human-ness... Thank you.

    ReplyDelete