Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Moment in Mission

An excerpt from my forthcoming book Stepping Stones.

The very first time I saw the two young girls they were dressed as men, in keeping with the roles they were playing. It was a short skit celebrating the 20th anniversary of the community college and it was also their Christmas program. M was in her element as the rustic and foolish but rich village landlord while K was the smooth but anxious umbrella salesman. My chance to get to know them deeply came during my one on one interviews.

“My name is M. I am 18 years old. My mother has been sick the last 3 or 4 years and gets medicine from ______Hospital. She’s been getting worse and worse. My father is a farmer but he doesn’t always get work. He has been sick from when he was a child. He drinks. I have two younger brothers. I passed high school and was even admitted into the local government college but mother said there is no money. I cried a lot. I wanted to study.”

She broke down, tears streaming down her face, her hands trying to cover them, and could not continue.

We stayed silent for awhile.

When she had regained herself, I asked, “What did you think of Booty Ballet?”

Booty Ballet is a ballet-dance based physical exercise workout routine set to Christian, hip-hop, baroque, Bollywood, and pop music.
I had introduced the students to Booty Ballet and we had done it a few times by the time I started my interviews.

“I like it very much,” she said, her tears forgotten, her eyes shining, cheeks dimpling as her lips parted in a beautiful broad smile showing white teeth and lighting up her face. “The new dance form, the way it makes me feel, I just love to learn.”

“What would you like to learn at ____?”

“I am learning nursing. I want to get a diploma, work.”

“Just a diploma? Why not an undergraduate degree?” I probed.

“I have to take it step by step,” she replied. “The doctor at the hospital told me about _______ and that’s how I am here. I have learned so much already. It is only here in _____, I have learned to pray. The first time I ever prayed. The first time I heard of Jesus Christ. I am learning so much about Jesus and it is all new. I want to honor God, obey Jesus. I like the Psalm you taught us, Psalm 91, “You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.” 

Days later, M. was also the one who stood up and said:

“You, your church and friends, you’ve never seen us. You don’t know us. Yet, you sent us money to build a new classroom so that we would have a room with a proper roof. You wanted us to sleep on beds and not on the floor and you sent us money for that. You send us money for food and clothes. I have no words to convey the great gratitude I feel. Even my relatives who live next door don’t care whether we live or die, have something to eat or nor. You have shown me that we are all children of God.”

The 17-year old twins S and K, were always smiling, happy, natural dancers.

“Your life sounds difficult, impossible!” I exclaimed, caught off-guard, when I heard K’s tragic life story.

She smiled radiant, confident.

“I used to think that way too. But after I accepted Jesus as my Savior, He has convinced me the word difficult should no longer be in my vocabulary. Whatever trials I face, Jesus is with me and with Him, nothing is too difficult or impossible.”

I will close with a blessing. This is what the girls will do if one of them were writing this. It is from their favorite Psalm 91.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is your refuge no evil shall be allowed to befall you. Because You hold fast to God in love, He will deliver you; He will protect you, because you knows His name.When you call to God, He will answer you; He will be with you in trouble; He will rescue you and honor you. With long life He will satisfy you and show you His salvation. He will bear you up on eagles wings and make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hands.

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