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Saturday, February 24, 2018

When feeling badly just isn’t enough

This week I was told about a family who lost everything they have in a house fire.  One of our staff lives in a rented single room with her five children (ages 4-15).  There is no electricity in the house so when the children were sitting on their foam mattresses doing their homework by candlelight, they accidently tipped the candle over and lit their homework on fire.  The fire quickly spread to the clothing, their school uniforms and shoes, schoolbooks, mattresses and anything else that could burn.

The children got out without injury, but the widows broke and even the door burned to the point that it cannot close or lock.   It was devastating for the family to stand outside and watch their earthly belongings go up in smoke. 

The next day, when everything was cleared out and the ashes swept, the family moved back in to nothing.  They slept on the concrete floor and stared up at the blackened walls, the holes in the tin roof and hoped that no one would try to come in and hurt them through the unsecured burned door.

Our Pastor and friend, Andy Stanley, often says, “Do for one person what you wish you could do for everyone.”  There is so much pain, suffering and tragedy here in Swaziland that Andy’s words are very helpful to take action when the weight of sorrow tries to shut you down and do nothing. 

Some of you know about my “Compassion purse” which is filled by friends from around the world and I use those the funds when I feel prompted by the Lord to do so.  Each time my purse is almost empty, someone comes and fills it up, without fail.  Last week our friend Pete Wilkerson was here and he handed me a wad of bills that he said a friend had given him before he left the US. The cash was to refill my compassion purse. 

I felt terrible for the mother when I heard about the fire, and I was heartbroken for the children who were carrying the guilt of the fire. But feeling badly isn’t enough.  Immediately we were able to send a box of MannaPack from Feed My Starving Children so that the family had food. We had a box spring/mattress at our Manna Distribution center that was available to give her and we were able to pull clothes for each of the children from the clothing that visitors have so generously donated.

I am so thankful for the funds that Pete’s friend sent because we were able to buy the school clothes and school shoes that they needed along with new foam mattresses for the children.  We were also able to replace the broken windows, and door and buy the wiring to get electricity in to the house to avoid future fires.  I am happy to say that we asked for volunteers from our own construction/maintenance teams to go on the weekend and fix the windows/door and install the electricity as their way of helping this lady. We provided the materials and they are doing the work for free. 

When you are faced with many people who need help, just do something for one person or family that you wish you could do for everyone.  Feed someone who is hungry, give a drink to someone who is thirsty, look around and see who needs clothes or even visit someone who is lonely.  That is what Jesus would do. 

If you would like to help refill my compassion purse for the next person in need, you can do so by clicking here in the US.

Live from Swaziland  … Happy Saturday!


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