I posted a few weeks ago about Dwalin. I have been waiting for that guy to get off the fence for a year now. Friday a good friend went down and spent some time with Dwalin and his wife. They accepted what they have believed for a long time now. Later this week or early next week they will be baptized together. Bringing the small church up to a total of six adults. An exciting aspect to all this is that Dwalin is a teacher in the local school and he is a leader of a group of young guys in the village. Frodo and the team really believe that this could be the breaking of the dam that we have been waiting for. Only the King knows and we will see His will done in His time. Thanks to all who have prayed for the village of Anfalas. Keep praying, the King is at work.
So as not to give anyone the wrong impression of who I am I thought I would tell a story that I try to keep before me often as a paradigm of my own personal wisdom and grace. I was going to travel from Rohan to Minas Tirith several years ago and asked my language helper to set up a taxi for me. My teacher and the taxi driver picked me up early in the morning and we headed for the middle border just an hour and a half away. I hoped to catch a plane just across the border to take me up and over the mountains to the capitol of Gondor. As we approached the border the taxi driver asked if I had any dollars. There might be trouble if I was carrying dollars and they would surely asked a foreigner about this. So, he and my teacher thought it would be best if I gave the dollars to the driver- the border guards would never think to ask him if he had dollars- and then I could truthfully tell them I didn't have any. I did not like this plan. I told them that I had traveled with dollars before and while it is a hassel I could deal with it. No, no, no they insisted that I give the money to the driver and as soon as we crossed the border he would give it back. Finally, for the sake of peace on the road with my driver and language teacher I agreed and gave him the four hundred dollars I had in my bag for the journey. Don't even start on me- I know all the reasons that this was a bad idea.
We crossed the border without incident and he stopped the car. He had gone as far as he could and now I would have to take another taxi on to the airport. He handed me back my money and said, 'Here is your three hundred dollars.' I blew a gasket. "Don't do this to me!" I shouted at him. I hit the back of his seat hard and threatened him. "I gave you four hundred dollars!" He swore up and down this was all he had. He had put the money in his sock- common custom for those crossing the border- and he took his socks off to show me that there was no more. I shouted a bunch more. I implored with my language teacher to help me get my money back. He was shocked and appalled. He had set me up with this guy and now I had lost a hundred dollars. He was ashamed and did not know what to do. Finally, I went on to the airport. There was no plane so I caught another taxi back across the border to Edoras. I decided to stop at my house and get a jacket that I had forgotten before I went on to the main taxi stand to get a taxi down to the southern border and on to Minas Tirith. As I stuffed my jacket in my bag there was the other hundred dollars. I had never given it to him. My teacher was furious with me. "Strider! All that stress and arguing for nothing! And that taxi driver is my neighbor." Oops. If I had known the taxi driver was his neighbor I would have behaved very differently. In fact, for the sake of a witness with my teacher in this culture it would have been better off to just lose a hundred dollars than shame him the way I did.
When I got back from Minas Tirith the next week I took some food to the driver's house and humbly apologized. I paid him twice the value of the trip and apologized some more. Verbally he forgave me but his body language indicated that this would take a while longer to get over. So friends, there you have it. Here in Middle Earth you will be fully justified in losing your temper and blowing up at people ten times a day, but the one time you do you'll be wrong. Wear humility like a cloak and meekness like a warm blanket on a cold day. We need it.