Well its 3:30 a.m. here in Oklahoma, and i’m wide awake. I guess my clock is still on Africa time, the places i was it would be 11:30 a.m. almost lunch time, I hope I don’t get hungry too. Thats all I need to start eating at 3 in the morning.
So, while I’m up anyway I thought I would share with you a lesson I learned in Rwanda. After a great Pastors and believers conference, we were milling around and a lot of different people wanted to talk, you know, tell me what they had learned or received from the conference, thanking us for coming, etc. One of my interpreters came to me and said there is a little mother who would like to speak with you before you leave. I said ok, she waited for a long time, and finally we walked over to her, and I hugged her and said hello. She begin to tell us that she had heard me talk about what we were doing for orphans, and she would like to tell me her story and see if I could help her. She told me that her husband had died two months previous, and he didn’t leave the family prepared. She has eight children, not uncommon for this culture and they were making it fine when dad was alive but now he was dead, and she had recently lost her job. She told me that if something didn’t happen, she would not be able to feed her family or pay their rent. She asked if I would help. I wave of irritation came over me, because there was really nothing I could do, I thought.
I had the interpreter tell her that I wish i could do something, but the budget we have is very specific and I can’t take monies that are already committed and give to her, because they would be breaking my word to people I promised I would help. I said, but i will do the most powerful thing I can do, I will pray with you. by the way I do believe that is the most powerful thing I can do, however sometimes in a moment like this it makes you feel completely impotent, thinking of a need that is so immediate. So I prayed with her, She cried, and I cried, I hugged her, told her I loved her, and walked away feeling like a hypacrite. I was thinking, you love her? then why didn’t you help her, I said to God, this is not right, i know that my prayer avails much, but please don’t ask me to come to a place that has such need without enough resource to meet the needs I can, I broke my heart, I have to say it made me mad. I walked back to my room, very frustrated, very angry, this little mother, has not options.
I asked her during the process can you go to your pastor and can help you? She told me a story that is indicitive of Rwanda right now. They do not want churches putting up temporary facilities because they are trying to set building standards. If you don’t have the money to build a permanent facility and you don’t have the money to rent a hall you literally have to disband your church and meet in homes, so many of them are doing cells in homes, but many of them see this as to difficult and are disbanding. Her pastor disband his church so right now she is without a church home. So i recommended a church she should try, and then prayed and walked off.
As I was changing clothes, and getting ready to go eat, which felt like an indictment in itself. I just failed to help a lady who was about to go in to a very difficult time and not be able to feed her family and here I am about to take my team to a restaurant and Eat together, and the cost of it would sustain this lady for a month or more.
As i’m changing, I’m asking, “why couldn’t I help this lady,” and I believe God impressed on my heart, “why couldn’t you?” My answer was the same I gave her. “I don’t have it in the budget,” The impression grew stronger, “who cares about the budget what do you have in your pocket?” It dawned on me, the money I had in my pocket would go along way to helping her. I only had what would equal about 20 or 30 american dollars, but I got inspired.
I finished changing, got my bag, and headed to the bus. When I got on, I told the bus driver “find that lady, she is walking home, find her.” No one accept my interpreter and the bus driver new what was going on, and I didn’t have time to explain, but I asked, who will give me, I cant remember what their money is called, but it was the equivalent of 9 or 10 dollars. I said who will give 10 dollars, I didn’t say why, I didn’t say what it was for, No one cared. I heard I give it, another Ill give it, and from the back of the bust to the front, people started handing me money. American’s rwandans everyone. Finally we rolled up on this woman, I said let me off this bus, and I ran out and met with her, and I apalogized and said there is something I can do, I can give you this. I handed her this roll of money, I don’t know how much it was, but in her life it was a lot. She cried and was so thankful, I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I could sense her gratitude and her love.
This story made me realize that we as americans, we do care, we do want to help, but many times we think if we can’t solve the whole problem then there is nothing we can do. I don’t know why I thought like that, I don’t know why I thought I have nothing to give, when I clearly did. We must make it personal, we must realize, no we may not be able to fix it all but there is something we can do. I am reminded of Moses, God said, “use what you have in your hand.” I’m reminded of Gideon, “use your pitchers and trumpets, ‘what you have.'” I’m reminded of Joseph, he used his gift of administration.” I’m reminded of the new testament church, they used what they had. Their homes, their love, their friendship, their money, just what they had. Its amazing what God can do, and what He will make up for if we will just use what we have, and do something.
I really learned something that day, and I will carry it into my day to day activities in my world, because this means everyday, i can do something significant to help someone who needs my help. Everyday, think about it……Every Day!
I love Jesus