The Chosen Rich Ones
The invitation came in December and as the month rumbled on the boys and Darron threw the invitation around. Did they want to go on a week long trek with Pastor Desmond through the jungle, visiting little churches along the way? They were all so tempted. Each in their own way. I wasn’t against it. Though it was right over Christmas. However, I felt consoled that if they went….at least they (Darron, Aubrey and Andrew) would be together making incredible memories. In the end, they decided not to go. This week Pastor Desmond (along with his family) joined us for supper. He shared with us his stories of this journey and showed us all the photos and videos. Pastor Desmond went with 4 of his seminary students. Even just listening (and not going) we were blessed and challenged. But we stayed home.
Not that staying home was bad. Many good things happened this break while being home and some of those are in earlier blogs from this month. Many games were played and conversations had. Books read. Projects tackled. Rest and renewal. Beach trips and driver licenses.
Last Saturday Darron was asked to preach in a little church about a 30 minute drive from our home. I was struck by many of the simple things in this church. The concrete floor and the rolled out carpet on the podium. Not tacked down or finished off with a nice carpet strip. Never vacuumed. Only ever swept.
Pastor Desmond shared that one of the things that impressed him the most on this journey was the simple faith, that was so deep and rich, by the tribal people living deep in Papua’s jungles. He said when they prayed that they believed with all their hearts that God would answer and often He did. Each in Pastor Desmond’s group were so touched by the living acting faith of these people. One village they arrived in, the people were waiting for them, with food all ready. One person had a dream the night before that they were coming. So the church people prepared.
While sitting in church my eyes wandered to the “windows”. Just block cut fashionably with holes in it. No mosquito screen. No stained glass window. The sound of passer byers came right into the sanctuary.
One village where Pastor Desmond stopped, the women give birth completely alone. A simple hut is built for them a distance away from their home. They are expected to deliver their own child, deal with the afterbirth and cut the cord. Alone. No body to help. Really? This is 2015. We have birthing centers and ……
My camera captured the bare feet of many in the church. Or just the flip flops. Where were the high heels and the polished shoes? Were we wearing our best for Jesus? Then I noticed our own shoes. Two of my children had flip flops on that the dog had taken a chunk out of. Even the “rich” missionaries are looking a little dog eared and humble.
Last year, Darron taught at the Seminary. He often commented that he was quite surprised when some of the students would score less then 25% on a test, of which he had gone over and over the answers too. One student in particular was not doing well in any of his classes. This last school year the student just stayed home in his village after the professors mildly confronted him that maybe Seminary was not for him. Pastor Desmond said that one of the most amazing things on his journey was witnessing this student, now living out his faith amongst his people. He said, “Darron, his heart is so good!!!!! He is smiling everywhere he goes. He is encouraging all the people and listening to them. He is getting them to memorize their Bibles and to pray. His heart is so good. He is doing so well. I was so amazed.”
The flower arrangement holder looked like a “cone” used in the States to deter traffic. The podium for the projector was roughly hammered together. Where were the lovely ferns and flower pots? The donated flower arrangement for the week. The sound booth. The highly polished cabinets and stands. I’m not 100% comfortable here but no longer am I comfortable there.
The most squeamish photo that Pastor Desmond showed were of the trail. The leaves on the trail. One small patch within those leaves. The leaves slowly removed. The evidence coming into focus. A large fat snake that blended in perfectly with the leaves. Pastor said, “Our eyes could not see the snakes, but the people there were so smart. They could see. They could see the snakes.”
What were my eyes going to focus on this morning? All the have not’s in this simple church or the riches?
Our teacher who spoke the lesson study in beautiful English, with his broken glasses held together by a wire.
The young child with the tattered hymnal in her hand.
The flowers laid around our necks and pinned on my boys shirts, in honor of our ‘sacrifice’.
The message of worship that my husband felt compelled by Gods spirit and working with the Indonesian people so closely felt led to speak. The special song.
The sweet offering bags, that hide what you give.
The lady with the face that etched a million stories. The cake she baked for us. Her captivating smile.
The point that Pastor Desmond shared from his experiences that his stuck with me the most, was that his seminary students wept. Wept? Why did they weep? They wept because they saw people who had so little. Which strikes a huge cord in me, because the seminary students themselves have nothing. They live in a simple wooden structure, with a tin roof. They have no screening on their windows. They slip on thin mats on their floors. They eat food that they cook for themselves….often looking in their simple gardens for some vegetables. There bathroom ……. lets just say that “we” (rich people) would hold ourselves a little too long to avoid using their bathroom. AND THEY WEPT!!!!?!
Next year, my guys want to go. What will they see? What will they experience? Will their hearts be moved? Can we not say, “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith?” How blessed we are to hear these stories and rub shoulders with those who know the rich in this world.