Thursday, October 1, 2009

Walking Over Water

I met a young man as I walked into the village. I asked his name. “My name is Allen” he said. “My first name is Allan,” I told him. It doesn’t take much to have some kind of a bond, does it?

The chapel in this little river village was set deep into the dwellings that were built on poles sticking out of the water. As our conspicuous band of American males started to walk toward the chapel, we were intensely aware that the walkway wasn’t made for our kind.

The first 20 feet took us over boards laid out like a ladder over the water. When I say the water was dirty, well . . . let’s just say, I had the feeling if you fell into it with any kind of open cut, you’d be really sick very quick. The first section had hand rails to hold onto, then it suddenly became two boards side by side with nothing to hold onto. Then one board . . . that bent dramatically under our weight.

At that, we all turned around and went back to the shoreline to visit with some of the children that were mildly entertained by our presence.

Allen sat and talked with me. You can see and hear him in the accompanying video.

He’s been a Christian for a little over a year, speaks pretty good English, and sells jewelry that he makes himself. I asked about his family – he pointed them out and they waved from the open window above. When I asked more about how they lived, etc., he told me he most often slept in the chapel. Again, I’ll remind you that our mental snapshots of churches and chapels have to be redefined. Their chapel was simply a small dwelling among the others over the river. Maybe 8 by 10 feet. I asked why he slept there and he told me he liked to have “devotion” when he first woke up. “They have Bible there” he said.

“Do you have a Bible of your own?” I asked.

“No” he answered.

I told him I would do everything I could to get him a Bible. He had told me that he wanted to be a pastor to help all the people of the world know Jesus.

A few hours later, we visited another church a few miles away from Allen’s village. He walked up to me as we were about to leave – it surprised me to see him again.

“Mr. Allan, where is my Bible?” he asked.


I ran inside this little church and asked the pastor if there was one copy of the Bible he could spare for me to give to a young man from the river village. He found a single copy and handed it to me.

Right here, let me emphasize that we were there with Bible League International observing their work, evaluating the great need for copies of the Word of God in the local language. So this was not to be taken lightly. I knew I held something precious in my hands.

Bible League International is very focused on their methods of sharing God’s Word and what I was doing was outside the lines of that focus. The pastors and laypeople that work with Bible League share Scripture through a small workbook called The Answer. It takes the reader through the book of John and guides them through the Gospel with questions and answers. After someone completes this study and is placed in a regular study group and church, that’s when they are able to have a complete Bible of their own.

When I gave the Bible to Allen, he looked like I had just handed him a pot of gold. I suspect he knew the value was way beyond mere gold – even as young as he was in his walk with God.

What will this simple, paperback copy of the Holy Scripture do for his world? How many people, young and old, family, friends, strangers will have their lives changed by the discovery of the Truth of Christ, His great love and grace for them all, for US all, simply because Allen has a Bible. He will tell them. He will go where I cannot go.

This is not writing a check to ease my conscience. This is not throwing pocket change at a beggar to gain a few seconds peace at a traffic light. This is time and energy well spent – invested in eternity.

We can’t do everything. But we can all do something.

If you listen, whether you’re in the Philippines or in Houston, God will talk to you. He will whisper. He will tell you which way to turn, when to speak, when to hear, when to watch and when to close your eyes. Obedience will bring joy to Him that made us and could quite possibly change the world.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was my favorite post yet. It showed you reaching out to make a change ...seemingly small to us but really large to the young man you helped.

I'm looking for a word from God today myself...usually I ask and the answers come inside or outside the box of ways to approach life issues and problems. My precious younger daughter is plagued by bipolar disease which she only developed two years ago..she is 10. The way it affects her even with her meds is that she is severely anxious about going to school. To make a grueling, sad ,long story short because of her axieties we had to have her homeschooled by a family member. My husband and I have to work ( insurance and for income). This year the family member could not come to homeschool her at our house so we started out the year at school but her anxieties are now preventing her from going. We have a babysitter who is a wonderful friend. She can't homeschool her much longer . My prayer and my problem is finding someone to care for her and teach her without breaking the bank or my husband having to get a second job. We love the Lord and search His ways daily but lately we are so broken and frankly depressed at the prospect of finding someone even though we have joy in our hearts.I'm not a needy wierdo that just writes any old stranger...but I'm truly in need of serious and heartfelt,lay-your -ands-on-it kind of prayer the kind you know and believe that God will intervene and make a miracle out of for the testimony of a lifetime. Either that she is healed of her disease or that he sends a special homeschool teacher who will work with our precious ,smart , beautiful daughter. Sorry to take up so much space on your blog but I really need your prayers.God bless you.