I traveled to Tyavikwa (chaveekwah) this week with Ben and three local folks to investigate the health care and Kingdom need in this mountainous, desert region southwest of Shangalala. We left Shangalala @ 2:00a and drove through the cool desert night, stopping at several health posts on the way which were crowded at sunrise with prostrate adults and children with Cholera. The region hasn’t had rain for over two years and the water sources are scarce and quite unclean. There have been many deaths in the region and the workers (beautiful people who knew virtually nothing) at the gov’t health care posts (2-3 rooms, no meds, cement floor, covered with very ill people) were so desperate for help, describing the recent deaths in their area and their inability to treat those ill. We stayed, helped, and gave them medicines and instruction, for which they were so grateful.
Who can know the Wind? This epidemic has been going for weeks in this remote region where there is virtually no health care. But, this day in each of these little adobe health posts, many people received medicine for their illness because we stopped by on our way somewhere. Many likely recovered that day where many have died without care. Who can explain? Is this raining and shining on the just and the unjust? Did one of these Himbas pray to a yet unknown god, and He responded by bringing us on this day to this place, with these supplies? I decided to throw my med bag into the car on my way out the door in my 2:00a fog, with no idea why (we weren’t doing clinics on this trip, only surveying the area). There was no logical reason for our presence at these remote clinics on this day, in the middle of, to us, an unknown, deadly epidemic. He gave us (and all who support us) the privilege again of being participants in HIS loving hurting people and HIS planting seeds of His love and grace.
Tyavikwa is nestled in a beautiful valley, surrounded by mountains, so hot (>100 F), with little shade or breeze and teeming with gnats that made it difficult to breathe. Several people groups live in the area, among them the Himba, who number 50,000 – 100,000, living in northwest Namibia and southwest Angola, and who have characteristically rejected the gospel message. There are very few believers among them. They are a fascinating group – see pictures ( http://www.american-pictures.com/gallery/namibia/index.namibia.himba.htm , http://www.on-the-matrix.com/africa/himba.asp , http://www.pbase.com/marielou/himba_people ) and one of the people groups that we would love to serve with health care. We will return in May to serve them and others in the region with a couple days of clinics and we’ll further survey the region’s health care needs and how we might best serve these rural people going forward, no strings.
Brennan Manning died this week. Read His books, if you dare see the world through eyes of God’s wondrous grace. He is now experiencing all He dreamed of, spoke of, wrote of, for so many years. This man of failure, man of grace, had a huge impact on me and I can’t wait to meet him.
I’m thinking today that our love and sacrifices may have an eternal impact and may not. After all Jesus did (we remember this Easter season), most will still only know the broad, more traveled path. Like our Father and Jesus before us, we must love with no strings, no agenda, no requirement that those we love will believe or even make wise choices. How our Father loves! He knows that most will reject Him, yet He loves, He cherishes, He serves, He encourages, He embraces, He blesses, He pursues. We love, cherish and serve these rural folks because they are made and loved by our Father and, therefore, have immense value. We mustn’t love in order that they see Jesus (ulterior motive); we love because of their value to our Father, who loves and died for every one (1Tim 2:3-6). He blesses those who appreciate Him as well as those who reject Him, those who obey and those who mock (He is no respecter of persons and shows no partiality). Even with His last breath, He loved and forgave those who killed Him. Can His spirit within me love like this today?
Jesus died to make us free (1Tim 2:6, Gal 5:1), and will compel no one to believe, but will rejoice in everyone who chooses to trust Him and walk with Him. We must love in the same manner, without compulsion, expectation or condition. It is tempting to desire even only their gratitude when we serve them, but even this can taint our love and service. Why and how we work is much more important than the work itself. Do we work and serve so we feel better about ourselves or because each of these people has eternal value and is worthy of our life and service? Do we love them so they will love us or love Jesus, or because they are worthy of our lives and service? Do we love and serve because if we were in their place, we would appreciate someone’s help? Do we consider their lives as more important than our own? Do we love them to glorify the only One who truly loves? Are we available to Him to love through us, in whatever manner He chooses or do WE want to choose who and how we will love?
Ultimately Jesus reduced everything down to us and Him. He said if we serve them, we serve Him. If we love them, we love Him. We love and serve them because we love Him. And we love Him as a response to His wondrous love for us. All of life comes down to our relationship with our Father. This relationship will affect our every motive, every act, every choice, every look. Walking with Him in relationship has been God’s call to man since Adam and it is the gospel message of Jesus. We must remember that our intimacy with our Father will affect every nonverbal message we send, how we serve, what we say, what we devote ourselves to throughout the day, our time management, where we live, what work we choose to do, what we smile at and how often we smile, what passages of the bible we refer to, who we hang out with, etc, etc. All of life springs from this, our relationship with our Father. If this spring is dry, our life’s interactions will be superficial and of no eternal significance. If this spring is full, however, all of life, every action, every word, every look, and every little trip into the desert, has the potential to be a part of someone’s eternal story.