Today is New Year's Day in Ethiopia! We begin 2006 this morning. Today we celebrate with expatriates. Tomorrow with Ethiopians. Because it is a fasting day for Orthodox, they will celebrate tomorrow. Jon and I have no class today but will have it tomorrow as apparently, our school doesn't follow the Orthodox schedule. :)
While blogging last week, I was hit with about two tons of conviction from the Spirit. Gulp. Literally, as I typed the post about the people I pass on a regular basis, I was surprised to look at it from a reporter's viewpoint and chastised to realize I was walking by people with no regard for them, human beings, in need and I made certain to walk a large circumference around them, eyes straight forward.
The Littles love the story of The Good Samaritan and ask to hear it. I am telling a story, teaching lessons, that I do not live.
As I reflected on it over the next several days, I realized a few things.
1) I was acting like I didn't see these people. Now to analyze the "why"…
2) It seems like if I see them, connect with them, they are going to want something from me.
3) All of the needs overwhelm me and I can't help everyone, discerning who to help is exhausting.
4) To cope with not being able to help everyone, I blocked them out, didn't dwell on thoughts of it, ignored people as I walked by.
5) That's not the way my Lord Jesus loves or calls me to love. He has created them, each individual with unsurpassable worth.
After some prayer, tears and talking with Jon, we have intentionally decided to get involved with several people who live close to us. We aren't talking about throwing money to them as we pass by but a "get-on-your-level, what-is-your-name, can-I-sit-with-you" relationship. Though we feel limited by language and cultural ineptness, it is not an excuse to turn our heads and walk on by.
I still can't catch his name but he was a soldier. He has a family but is mentally unstable and now lives here, under his tarps and umbrella.
This could get messy because relationships are rarely as convenient as a money drop. We don't have the answers on how to navigate these tricky waters of poverty and so we continue to pray for wisdom and grace. Praying God is the only thing seen in us.