A few years ago, while touring colleges in Florida with Helen, we had a chance encounter with someone who was a friend of a friend. Steve Peifer was touring colleges with his son, and also touching base with students from the school where he worked — the Rift Valley Academy in Kenya (that was actually how we made the connection).
He mentioned something about a ministry he had started in Kenya to get food to the children. He told the story of visiting a village school on a Thursday and found all the children lying down. When he asked about it, the teacher said that the children hadn’t eaten since Monday, so they got dizzy when they sat up. After hearing that, he took it upon himself to get food for the children. He founded a group called Kenya Kids Can!
Over a year ago Steve posted a link on Facebook to this story: The Tire Iron and the Tamale. I know that most of you won’t read the story, but, truly, you’re the one missing out if you don’t read it. In a nutshell, it’s about a guy with a flat tire who is helped out by some Mexicans. But that’s kind of like saying Gone With the Wind is a story about a southern girl and a plantation. There’s so much more there. Go read it. Now. It’ll only take a few minutes. (And I’m talking about The Tire Iron and the Tamale, not Gone With the Wind.)
The other day Helen and Jacob went for a bike ride, got lost, had a little mishap which led to a bloody leg, and finally called home for a ride. As they sat by the side of the road, waiting for Bud and me to find them, other motorists drove by but none stopped to help. Or even to ask if they needed help.
Lest you think I’m pointing an accusing finger at the rest of the world, let me tell you that on Friday I visited my mother with my sister. As we walked down the halls of The Manor, my sister greeted any number of the other residents by name and with a smile. I never do that. I insulate myself from others.
The needs are all around us every day. We may not live in Africa where the need for food fairly shouts at us from all corners, but we may drive by someone who needs assistance. We may walk by someone who just needs a smile and a friendly greeting. And truly, all three of those are things we can help with.
If only we could grasp the concept of the fact that God wants to use us to make a difference. We are His hands, His feet, His smile.
O Lord, open our eyes to see the needs around us!