Sunday, February 24, 2019

Possessions and Pity


"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, 
how can the love of God be in him?" (1 John 3:16–17, NIV).

Saturday morning proved to be a fast-paced trip to the city for us. Our primary objective and first stop landed us at the Mac store where our friend and tech guy waited for his frequent visitors. Yes, we now have a Mac store in Bolivia. My computer decided to go on strike the previous night. It messaged me that I had no more space to download files. How could that be whenever in another location it told me I had plenty of space. If only I could talk back to this "smart" companion––smarter than I am.

Two hours later, the problem was solved and the download safely in my files. Ahhh! Any writer will tell you how valuable the files of their books are to them––even though we have backups and more backups. Next, we took advantage of the trip to town and set out to do some needed shopping, mostly groceries. I've been in Bolivia 38 years and grocery shopping now in 2019 is a day out for me. Why?

For many years in the past, our shopping was anything but a day out. It was a day of exhaustion and frustration. There were no supermarkets, so we trekked from one location to another to find our needed items. First, we walked to a street where we bought meat at dawn before it sold out. Then to buy bread on a corner from a lady who made the best bread around, and so on through the day. Did I mention flies, smells, and thieves lurking around waiting for a chance to steal our wallet or purse? And, of course, Americans were their prime targets of the day. 

Now you see why it's a day out for me to go to the supermarket––it's clean and safe and most things are available in one place for the necessities of life. Oh sure, we have specialty shops or favorite other places we like to go, but on the whole, the super gives us the main necessities for cooking, cleaning, and goodies to enjoy and even some clothing items. 

On our last trip home to the States, I remembered mentioning in an email that we had a supermarket somewhat like Walmart now in Bolivia. Arriving in the States one of our first stops––you guessed it––Wally World. We step inside, and our eyes almost bugged out from the vast view––and they stung from the bright lights. We stood there, mouths opened and yes, eyes widened, just like I can imagine a foreigner looks like the first time he experiences the overwhelming availability of products in the United States of America and the beauty and cleanliness of it all. Lest I should forget to mention the humongous building. Indeed the USA has material possessions unlike anywhere in the world. If you doubt me, step outside the USA. BTW, our "Walmart Not" could fit inside a real Walmart many times over.

Ahh, but what do we do with our "possessions"? 

On this day of leisure for us, we decided to stop at a new fast-food chicken place for lunch. We chose to sit outside in a corner spot and watch the traffic and the scenery––mostly traffic and people hurrying by on their Saturday quest for weekly necessities. Smoke from the outdoor "kitchen" engulfed us, but the aroma pleasantly filled our nostrils. At this quaint locale, big glass windows separate the eating area from the street to block the traffic noise and prevent unwanted intruders. But, what we saw through those windows pierced our hearts and challenged us, even more, to do what God has put on our hearts for the building of His Kingdom through Worthy Words Press to gift children's books. 

Sitting in that outdoor section, eating our chicken possessions, we soon saw necessities--sad necessities of a developing country––where we live so we can share the gospel to the unreached and especially children. And, there in those windows leaned three children watching us eat. Not just any children, but poor, ragged and hungry children.

I had hardly touched my food––chicken, rice and french fries, I had passed on the noodles that came with the meal not wanting to waste food. But now, I regretted that decision. The children appeared to range from six to ten years of age. Many times the mother is hiding somewhere waiting for the children to bring any food they can gather, but restaurant owners discourage these little ones from hanging around. The oldest boy showed me a plastic bag, and I motioned for him to come--we paid for that food so what could the owners say to us? We filled the bag with food, and they ran off. 

Yes, we fed them lunch but no time to tell them of Jesus. Soon we can do more. How I wished we had my books already printed so we could have given them books. Books to read about the One who is the Bread of Life to fill their hungry souls. Since God put this idea in our hearts, He daily shows us it is of Him, and that Worthy Words Press is a tool He will use to reach kids for Him. He has promised to guide us and provide for what He wants done––for His will.

Since our first days in Bolivia, we asked God never to allow us to grow cold or insensitive to the needs around us. How exciting for us to see God working to put children's books in Spanish into the hands of little ones like these three precious, hungry children. What a joy for me to see my books being translated into Spanish and used to tell children about Jesus.

We know what He calls us to do, He will do it––He'll provide all we need. And, He is doing that daily. We have professional help, we have the first monetary gifts to begin, we have faithful friends and supporters who pray and give to God's work, and we have the One who keeps His promises. What an awesome God we serve and love! 

With the love of God who fills us with pity for these little ones––and even their parents too––we can use our possessions to do His will!

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