And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Some days I grow weary. The steady, ceaseless reports of death after death here in Sub-Saharan Africa, mostly from HIV/AIDS, or from lack of access to decent medical care, may just be statistics to some. But for those of us who minister here, these are real faces and real people we know and love. We cry with the families left behind.
Wednesday was one of those days. The first woman to arrive for our morning Bible study in one of the villages almost immediately began her teary-eyed tale of her adult-age grandson who was dying and not expected to make it through they day. He would be leaving behind a small three-year-old son.
Then we received a phone call from one of our members saying it will be awhile before she can join us again because she is substitute teaching for a teacher who just died. I was already sick at heart before it was time to ask for prayer requests, and my interpreter also asked for prayer for her middle-aged father who is very sick and needing a miracle to live. We all cried together and prayed together for each situation, clinging to the hope that our compassionate God does hear our prayers.
After the morning Bible study and lunch in the car, we went to the community we serve in the afternoon. First we visited Elvis, a 94-year-old man living alone. Our weekly visits with food and treats make only a small dent in the loneliness and need in the waning life of this frail grandfather, whose own family neglects him horribly.
And then we received the news that one of the members of our afternoon Bible study group would not be able to attend because she was helping down the road with a family of four children, ages 10 years, 7 years, 4 years, and 9 months, whose mother had just passed away and whose fathers are not around.
I normally try to post “upbeat” messages, but sometimes the pain and the burden I feel spills over. I do not have the answers, but I know God does. And these situations propel me forward, day after day, with the urgency of sharing the love of Jesus.
And our compassionate God does hear our prayers. And He does encourage me.
This same day, one woman who has only recently started attending one of our groups and who frankly came with a bad attitude, was sharing in siSwati with some of the others, not realizing I could understand most of what she was saying. The gist was that in the short time since she's been attending our Bible study, she's realized that there is a difference between a church-goer and a Christian, and that now she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Here I am Lord, send me.”