“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him,
how does God’s love abide in him?” -1 John 3:17
Many new & often strange food surrounds me in this land. From steamed chicken feet to cubed pig’s blood & of course, the bird’s nest soup! That last one definitely fell in the category of “Eating Ministry” adventures… Every now & then you take a risk that pays off, as I did with the Parma Ham with Melon a few weeks ago. Of course, this is not a big risk, unless you’re an avid ham avoider like myself… Turns out to be my new favorite fancy Italian dish & I’m sure I will find a way to make it for Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to our new friends for introducing me to it over a lovely meal at the beautiful Italian Restaurant, it was great to relax with them & enjoy the view of the city…
Our friends happen to Manage the hotel where we ate with them. Many of our new friends & co-workers here seem to live in a different world – ‘On the other side’ as my grandfather might say… At first we didn’t quite know how we would fit or where, among people who clearly did not live like us. Didn’t we expect that? you ask… Sure, we expected to serve the poor & homeless, we hadn’t thought much about ‘the other half’… God is teaching us new things every day. – How can a housewife from California relate to a working mom who employs a live-in Nanny/Maid?? Well, I try to be real & genuine in everything I do & say. When I’m asked how can I possibly cook, clean AND homeschool my kids each day – I tell them the simple truth, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” I even share my failures, the times I lose my cool & yell at a kid… but I tell them how I’ve learned to ask for forgiveness from my boys as well. Sometimes we take for granted that an educated or wealthy person already has everything they need.
Lamborghinis parked in front of ‘box collectors’ (local elderly often recycle cardboard to pay their rent), church secretaries with their own private drivers; meanwhile, just down the street, Mark & I brought a box of flea collars to a man in a ‘cage home’. This city is one of contradiction & hypocrisy. Poor & wealthy share the same sidewalk without a glance at the other. The poor are often eager to hear our stories of Hope & Redemption… the rich are not as interested… So how DO you offer that which cannot be bought to someone who truly thinks they CAN buy happiness?? I don’t have the answers, but God does… I live my life unto Him. I trust that He will guide my relationships. Many of the people I come across cannot imagine simple daily tasks without paying someone to do it, they cannot fathom raising their own kids or making sacrifices in order to BE with their kids… I find it isn’t always just because they CAN, but sometimes because it’s the only way they know HOW to live. Those that are already grounded in a firm faith in Christ, like our friends at the hotel, they know the truth of God’s generosity & the purpose for their blessings… they give it away & they serve with their time in prayer & with their hands to heal & help others in the name of Jesus.
The other day in our home group, one friend was sharing with another about how spending time doing devotions with her kids has brought them closer together. The other mother smiled politely & said she was sure it had, but she wouldn’t know how to begin. The first friend told her, “Well I learned from watching Joy with her kids – she will help you too & we can all do it together!” Thank you Lord, for showing me why you placed me here among people who don’t ‘look’ like they need anything I have to give. Thank you for humbling me everyday & reminding me how you work in the very simple & mundane tasks of washing dishes & sweeping floors – which is when I do devotions with my kids. So these ladies don’t have to wash, but they see the need for teaching their babies about Jesus. For that I am so grateful.
May my heart be tender & my ears open to the Holy Spirit every day I spend with my new friends. May I continue to trust Him more, serve Him better & walk humbly among both rich & poor – wherever He may lead me.