The Heart of Giving

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I have been very aware of my ability to speak Arabic these days as it is the season of Ramadan in the Islamic culture. One of our new friends is from India, the man whom we bought our bales of children’s clothes from. He and his brother came to our compound the following weekend and lavished our children with candy and cookies and tea, boxes of it. He says he wants to return at the end of Ramadan and bring more treats for the children, much more. I love their giving hearts. If we walk by people in need and have something to give them, then we have walked by God Himself, as we are all created in His image. My friend and his brother saw us in need and just had to come and help.

I believe that everyone has something to give. Jesus said that if we give even a cup of water to the thirsty then we have given to Him. Water costs us nothing in the west. Here in this country and other third world countries, water is very costly. I know that in many places, the ladies and children have to walk for miles to get to a water source and then carry it back home. Water is needed for washing clothes, bathing and cooking and even for crops. Can you imagine carrying this much water every single day? It is costly. Yet, when you enter a home in this country, the first thing that is brought to you besides a chair to sit on is a cup of water. Every single home you visit, a cup of water is brought first and foremost. This speaks volumes to me. It makes me want to give even more of the things that cost me.

Many people are overwhelmed by the great need in the world. Everyone these days it seems is in need. I look at the things that I “used to” think that I needed and see now that I never really did need them after all. It isn’t until you’ve given everything or lost everything that you realize what is really needed. Even I have a storage room full of “stuff” in America and I wonder these days how much of that will I really need. Living in a culture of just having the bare necessities really makes one aware of what is really needed in life. My life is very uncluttered here, although I still have great need for our children. I just trust God to provide for their needs. Many people ask me when they are coming here, “What do you need for yourself?” I never realized until a friend came from my hometown just how little I actually needed. I am content with the little I have, I am uncluttered and unburdened of much.

There are many in this world that have great need and we all have something to offer. We have houses and storerooms full of things that we haven’t even looked at for two years thinking that one day we “might” need them. One shirt given to someone in need is a treasure beyond compare. I see it here when I bring new clothes for our children. They are so delighted to receive used clothes and wear them proudly. One shirt, one dollar, one cup of water is all that is needed by most people in the world. Don’t let the “big” picture overwhelm you into doing nothing. Just stop for the one in front of you who needs a cup, or bottle of water, a shirt, a meal, a hand up and not necessarily a hand out. I had no intention of writing any of this as I sat down this Sunday morning before church, but somehow this all came to my heart. If each person in this world gave something to another, all would have a need met. How simple and yet, how profound. We are blessed by God to bless others.

Yesterday I was taking a visitor to the airstrip and I thought of the soldiers here who haven’t been paid for almost three months now. I stopped to get our visitor some bread because there is no drink cart service on our small puddle jumper airlines. I was getting into the truck and I said wait, hold on. I went back and bought two big bags of mandazi (our version of doughnuts). As I went through the two roadblocks on the way to the airstrip I gave the soldiers the bags of mandazi and said that I just wanted to bless them this morning. It cost me $3. So simple, yet to them so profound. It made their day. As I returned from the airstrip, coming back through the roadblocks, I received waves and smiles. Their need today was something in their bellies and a warm, sincere love to go with it. Thank you Jesus for reminding me to give love and what it looked like today.

This week we have had many hurdles to conquer and I am still running the race strong praise God. We have had a small outbreak of mumps, manageable, in our smaller children, including Mercy who is handling it quite well although it is strange to see her so quiet for so many days. We have had a couple of older kids having upper respiratory infections and now, just now, I have looked into Mercy’s mouth and see a molar that has to be pulled. What we thought were mumps might just be a very bad tooth infection for her. We don’t have dentists here so I will have to call around to see who can do this…. Both of my pastors have been sick.

Our truck has spent most of the last two weeks in the shop for one thing or another so we have been walking more. That in it self is difficult as it is very time consuming and impossible with sick kids and when the rains are here it is hard to get things done as we run in between the rain drops – lol. I am seriously declaring, calling in, and believing for that new Landcrusier!!! I am guaranteed a new one at cost right now. Bill told me that the parts that we normally throw away in America, rubber o-rings and bushings and gaskets and such, here they clean and repair them as best they can and put them back in action to hold for another couple of months.

Even as I sit here to type this update Bill has just informed me that both our batteries are dead and the way they test them here is to stick their finger in the acid and taste it, and the way they charge a new battery is to leave it set in the sun all day. So, Bill is in town waiting for the batteries to charge. It is very difficult to get parts here and the ones they have are made in China, the lowest quality they make because there are no laws here concerning quality of trade items. It’s very frustrating and a drain on our finances when these things break every few months. Twice in the last two weeks I have had to pay guys on the street to push start me as our battery was barely alive and Bill had to get a push start to the church he was preaching at this morning – lol. Jesus come with that new truck!

Ahh but here it is Sunday and I am in good cheer and our children are happy and spirit filled and that is the real heart of the mater. They are running around playing with balloon animals, actually balloon goats and fish as that is all I know how to make. All else fades away eventually. Last night we actually got to watch a movie for the first time in months because my projector was broken and I just did figure out how to get our spare to work. Tonight our eldest boys get to go to town to watch on TV the final game of the World Cup of Soccer. They are very excited and filled with joy. It really doesn’t take much to make us happy here. We press on towards the goal, all of us here at Yei Children’s Village. We look to what is ahead, not at what has passed. We know that our future holds ONLY promise. The kingdom of God is violently advancing and the desperate, the hungry and thirsty, the radically faithful, the laid down lovers of Jesus lay hold of it violently. Wow! Jesus!