“We want you to go to Africa.” That’s what my boss said, and he was talking to me.
If my boss would have called a meeting of the entire staff of my Christian radio station and said, “Who wants to go to Africa with Compassion?”
There would have been and instant long line and kindhearted co-workers making their best case. And me… hiding behind them and praying to be unnoticed. But that’s not how the meeting went. It was just me and the boss-man and a sentence that chilled me to the bone. “We want YOU to go to Africa.”
Friends…here’s what I knew about Africa when he made the request:
The kids are starving and sick and dying. The parents are often dead…AIDS. It’s hot. It’s dangerous. The bugs can kill you. It’s stark and if you go, we will not come back the same.
“Let me ask my husband,” I said.
“What do they want you to do,” my man asked me over our meat and potatoes dinner that night.
“I don’t know. Love on kids. Pray with them. Feed them.”
“You should go,” my husband encouraged.
“I don’t want to. I don’t think I can take it.”
“Don’t think you can take what?” “I just don’t want to cry the whole time,” I confessed.
“That’s what compassion IS, Shan.” my hubs reminded me.
Compassion: To suffer with.
See it’s one thing, isn’t it, to say, “Oh dear…they are starving, as you pass the homeless in…say…your neighborhood. It’s another to grab them a bean burrito and still another to get our and share a meal together, right there on a milk-crate chair. It’s another to learn about that persons heart. To love them.
When you feed them…that’s goodness. That’s mercy. When you know them and love them, that’s compassion, because it hurts.
They say a problem shared is a problem cut in half. Sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do is just listen and pray.
Sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do…is GO!
This is Becky. We sponsor her through Compassion
This photo was taken moments AFTER I “Got it together”.
When we arrived in Becky’s village, her school social worker explained to me that Becky was falling behind in school because she was often sick with Malaria. When I met her…she was shuttled pushed toward me by a crowd of her family and teachers. Becky did not want to hug me. I don’t blame her. She didn’t know this weird white lady at all. I did not WANT her to hug me if she didn’t want, and so (feeling her pain and respecting her) I whispered, “It’s ok. You don’t have to hug me, Rebecca.” That’s when she hugged me.
That’s when this picture was taken.
So was so so thin. Thinner than anyone I’d ever touched. She was a heap of scared and angry skin and bones when we met.
and I was mush. I’m still mush. That’s what happens when God heals your heart. He wrecks you in the most beautiful way. He wrecks you do deeply that you cannot be still or silent.
So, we spent the day together, as I read her Bible stories about the loves and fishes and instilled, as best I could, the truth that God does not change. That he SAY’S he’ll provide for the needs of His children and that means He will. We went, by bus to the Compassion office, where Becky saw her first toilet. Remind me to tell you that story one day. Saying good-bye to her that night was the first and only time in my life I’ve wept inconsolably. And that same still small voice said, “You can’t let her down, Shannyn.” and I pray that I’m not.
That night, back at my hotel, with wall and a roof and running water and a dinning room with while table cloths, I prayed “God, why don’t you make FOOD GROW HERE? You made the Garden of Eden! Why don’t you give them WATER? Why do you LET THIS HAPPEN?” and in the still small voice that marks the king, He replied.
“Why do YOU let this happen, Shannyn? I live in you.”
You know, there ARE problems…lots and lots of them. But there are also solutions to the problems. For Becky and her family, a simple mosquito net was a game changer. That’s one of the things that my tiny little $38/month was able to accomplish. Now Becky and her family and thriving! She’s doing really well in school. She has a dream for her future. Remind me to tell you about that sometime, too!
Sometimes the answers are simple. Rarely are they easy. If they were, it wouldn’t be compassion.
Go to http://www.myflr.org/compassion to Give Hope for 2 and release a child from poverty in Jesus name.