Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Gift of Hope

This blog is primarily about stories. I like to tell stories alot. But today I am 44 years old. Even though this is of no interest to most of you this is my blog and I thought I would document the fact. I would also like to say that my e-mail server has died a sudden and violent death and so I can not access any e-mails at my address. This is very inconvenient. So for all my friends who have written to wish me happy birthday (and you both know who you are) I am sorry I did not get it. I will get a new e-mail address maybe tomorrow and let you all know what it is. So, that's all I had for today.
Well, maybe one story. I have skirted the edges of talking about humanitarian aid for awhile now and would like to begin the discussion with an old tale. Ten years ago, just after the end of the great civil war here in Gondor there was a pitched battle with a small band of rebel soldiers right outside the walls of Minas Tirith. The battle lasted three days and at the end everyone was overjoyed that the rebels not only lost but that the country did not dive back into civil war. So everyone, including the Government, UN, and various aid agencies breathed a sigh of relief and moved on as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately that did not help the small community that saw sixty homes destroyed and over one hundred civilians killed. We had friends out there so we went out to see how they were doing. Gimli and Bilbo got busy right away fixing up houses, so that people would have a place to be in the winter, and distributing food and kitchen supplies to some forty families who were most needy. We were new in the country and didn't speak the language well but we loved people well and we prayed in English or broken Gondorese every time we went onto someone's property. We learned alot in that event but I want to talk about Nob.
Nob had seen his brother shot to death on his own doorstep and was devestated. When we found him his house was burned down and he was sitting in his detached kitchen with no will left even to get up. Fall was turning to winter as we helped many people get ready for the cold. Nob's house was next on the list of those we could help but the snows came and we ran out of time to construct anything. We held a big meal for all those in the community and shared with them as best we could why we were helping them. Nob stood up. He went on and on about how we had saved his life. We had given him hope. We had given life back to the community. I could not understand it because in the end we had not helped him- physically. Even though Nob never became a follower of Jesus our lives changed his life. His house was not only broken but he was bound by lies and oppression. We didn't fix his house but by freeing him from the depression he was in he was able to buy a bigger house the next spring. He did it without our money. He did it with the hope that we gave him. He studied the Word with me for a year and then moved on. I have not seen him in a long time. But that is not the point. Ultimately salvation is about Jesus and Nob. Strider is not in the picture. I am not his savior. But I did have a role to play. I was to present the Savior in an understandable way. We did and Nob was changed. That is what we are to be about in this world. As we live out our faith we shine a light that drives out the darkness and changes others forever. The UN, Red Cross, and other relief agencies can do wonderful things with big budgets but they can't bring the true answer for overcoming poverty and despair. Hope. The reality that there is an almighty King who loves you and is calling you. This is true aid. Humanitarian? Nope, divine.

5 comments:

Andrew Hicks said...

Strider,

(haven't had a chance to read this post yet)

Left you a birthday wish on my blog.

guymuse said...

Speaking of stories...do you "story" the gospel in your sharing with others? I take it that you do, but would be interested in hearing a bit more about your experiences with storying. Most of the people we work with are literate, but I have often felt that they would be better served by stories than by the didactic, literate way we go about teaching and discipling. Would be interested in your thoughts.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Strider said...

I story a lot. We have tried chronological storying but have not really had any good response to that. On the other hand in our context which is semi-literate (meaning that everyone can read but noone does) telling stories is how people learn. Whenever I sit down with friends or strangers I always look for an oportunity to get in a story or three. They love that- the longer the story the better in our culture- and they remember it years later. I have had many stories repeated a year or two later by people I didn't realize were listening. The great thing about stories in our part of the world is that they are easily accepted. Noone argues with a story. And in accepting it we can move their world view around which is essential for their understanding of the truth. My whole blog is a didactic of how I do the work here- which you have noticed. I will have to tell a story or two about storying!

Strider said...

And Happy Thanksgiving to you and all who are patient enough to stop by here!

Anonymous said...

Hey Strider.... Happy Belated Birthday! We hope you and yours had a good Thanksgiving!!! Did ya get the new e-mail yet? As always looking forward to more stories. Angie.