Song - "How Beautiful To Walk In the Steps of the Savior"
Normally we have a speaker each week to inform, motivate, inspire and/or apply the lesson to us. Actually, the speaker cannot apply the lesson. The speaker can SUGGEST an application, but ultimately the hearer is the one to either accept the application, reject the application or create one of her own. Normally a speaker would give her application at the end of the talk, but today I want to start with my suggestion of an application, and then at the end of the talk, you supply your own application.
First, let me inform you that the church here is getting together another medical mission team to do our third short-term medical mission in Guyana, South America, June 19 - 27. The good Lord willing, it looks like we are going to have seven doctors going with us this year. So far, we have 1 nurse committed to going. We need about six more. For every doctor going, we need six personal workers, for a total of forty-two personal workers. We don't have that many going. We need more. In particular, we need ladies who are willing to conduct a brief Bible study with each patient while they wait to see the doctor. We will help you prepare for that. It is the very simple study that I presented when we studied chapter 6. Or you can study your own way.
If your main problem is FEAR of the unknown or of leaving country or family, please know that is very normal and can be easily overcome with some preparation classes and then just going.
Cost per person will be about $1700. However, if you can come up with $200 of that on your own, we'll help you find the rest. (We never allow anyone to use the excuse that they can't afford the trip.) NO SHOTS ARE NECESSARY. Please don't sit there and say to yourself, "Not me, I can't go." Just consider it. This may be the year for you to develop an adventurous spirit. One hundred twenty people put on Christ as their Lord because twenty-seven people from Fort Smith went last year. Deborah Wilson and Joyce Dunavin went last year. They can tell you--
Jane Fisher is considering going this year. Sandy was, up until something more exciting came along for her to do this summer. [She's pregnant.] We need men also. So send your husbands. If you just can't go, consider helping the team financially. We take a big team. Many can't afford it themselves, but they won't let it stop them from serving the Lord. Do the sending, and always remember we are all missionaries whether on foreign land or at home to our neighbors. God has given each of us a mission.
- Where to get the world's best pedicure. (See Romans 10:15.)
- The best pineapple in the world. Lots of fish and rice.
- How sweet and receptive the people of Guyana are.
- How eager they are to listen about the Bible.
- How to brush your teeth out of a cup of bottled water.
- How wonderful to see the power of the Gospel, not like U.S.
Forget you are in this classroom in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In your imagination, let's leave this place and step into someone else's shoes for awhile.
- "I" - first person, singular pronoun, means you!
- Three different places around the world.
- I am a woman in a faraway, cold country. I've just come home from working in a factory that makes parts for machines. My small apartment is constantly cold. I have very little food in my cupboard. What food I do have will not be cooked on a modern convenient stove or oven, but on my one small burner in my beat up pan. This is not unusual in my country. At least I have this small apartment just for our family. Other apartments have multiple families in them. I don't know what will happen when our children get old enough to marry. There just isn't enough housing to go around. We'll probably have to squeeze them in somewhere. Potatoes again. I know I should be glad to have that. I don't get off work early enough to stand in line to buy bread. Neither does my husband. My husband has a lot of schooling, but his pay is not good either. Is there hope for us? our children? I can't see it.
Once things weren't this bad in our country. I can remember better days when I was a child. I felt like singing sometimes then, and there was food and warmth. But things have changed. The trucks with the heating oil don't come to our town very regularly now. You see, our government has collapsed. That once great force that controlled everything has crumbled - now everything has crumbled.
I had been taught as a student that our country was the best in the world. She was the mightiest, strongest, most powerful nation of all. Our government freed us to become the best that we could be - freed us from the money traps that so many Western nations fall into. Here everyone was suppose to be equal - all for the Fatherland! Huh! What fatherland? Our government freed us from the shackles of a false god and false religions. Over a century ago, the philosophers started teaching that God is nothing more than a projection of human desires. God was created in the minds of man to explain the unknown, superstitions. But now God is dead. Man doesn't need a god anymore. Science will replace that need. Science and only science makes man free - masters of themselves. It didn't take long for that philosophy to become part of the government. It was suppose to create a world of truth and justice.
A world where men share the fruits of the earth together and where one man is not set over another. A world without exploitation of man by man. A world where heaven was here on earth, not in some vague afterlife. Well, if there is a heaven, IT IS NOT IN THIS COUNTRY.
I can remember my grandfather trying to teach me something about a god that he believed in. What was it he used to say? I can't remember clearly. It had something to do with a son of a god that died, but what good is a dead god? I see some old women going to an old ancient church sometimes, but I don't see any hope in their eyes - surely that's just silly old superstition. My fatherland let me down. I can't believe in that anymore. Is there a God like Grandfather said? If so, where is He and can't He see I'm suffering? Am I just to live out my life amidst such suffering and then just die to rot in the ground? Is that all there is? I feel no hope...
- I live on an island. I've heard stories about polar bears and playing in the snow, but I can't imagine such things because it is always warm on our island. The only season change I see is rainy season or dry season. But I am happy. I have all the food I care to eat. The trees and the sea provide me with that. I have a roof to cover me during the rain. What else could I ask for?
Sometimes my neighbor doesn't treat me right, but that's OK 'cause I don't always treat him right. It's OK. I hate the woman that lives in that hut over there under the big coconut tree. She's mean. I just have to be meaner than she is so she doesn't bother me. My neighbor tells me that's not right to act that way. She says,"God isn't happy when you do that." Well, so what? Is God gonna make the fish go away or the coconuts dry up? What do I care? God doesn't have to live in this village on this island with that ol' woman. I DO! My neighbor says "You're gonna lose your soul and end up in Hell when you die!" Lady, if that's a loving God, then I don't see the love. Besides, I've seen this "so-called Christian" neighbor of mine snub other "so-called Christians" just because they don't go to the same church.
The Catholics do this, the Protestants do that... Well, if that is religion ... Besides one of my friends is a B'Hai. He says they take the best of all the world's religions and get spiritually in tune with God that way.
I can't make any sense out of this religion stuff. If there is a God, wouldn't He make it simple for me to figure it all out? Is there really a heaven and a hell? If there is, I hope I'll go to heaven. After all, I obeyed my parents, usually, when I was young, and now I'm pretty good to my family. What about my neighbors? I hope...
- I live in a third world country. I am quite poor, very poor, but everyone else I know is poor, too. It is a hard life. We have to boil our water to use it for cooking or drinking. They say everyone will get sick if we don't. They may be right. My first child died when he was just a baby. He had diarrhea that just wouldn't stop. Even the old medicine woman couldn't help him. Perhaps if we could have taken him into the capitol city, we might could have found a doctor - someone trained to take care of sick babies - maybe he would have lived. But, the capitol is too far away, and there was no way to take him. I do have another child now, with another one on the way. They may die, too. Many children die in our village. It doesn't take the pain away, though.
My husband works in the sugar cane fields. He works too hard. His back is always hurting. Maybe someday he will feel better and can work harder to make enough money for us to move into a house that will have running water, maybe even electricity! Oh, that would be nice. Then I could see to sew at night while my husband watches the kids. I could even sell some of my work, maybe. Maybe we could earn enough money to move to the United States. They say everyone is rich there and live in fancy houses with TVs and drive fancy cars. They don't have to worry about their water or how to get to a doctor if someone gets sick. My hands are always working, but my mind is always wondering.
I wonder why we are so poor. I wonder why my neighbor is a Hindu. They are always trying to do more for their god.
They seem to think if they can do more good than bad, then their next life will be better - (ha-ha) maybe they'll come back as a citizen of the United States in their next life. They are strange. I suppose we are strange to them. We are Islamic. It is the will of Allah that we were born in this poor country. It also seems to be the will of Allah that my husband beats me when I'm bad. I try not to be bad too much. My husband wants to be a good Muslim so he can go to heaven when he dies. He hates anyone who is not of our religion and is just sure they are all from the devil. I can remember from my childhood my father and some other men going and attacking another village because they were not Muslims. From what I've been told from our holy book, the Koran, heaven sounds like one big orgy. That's OK for my husband, but I'm not so sure for myself...
My child is running a fever. It is very scarey to me. I pray to Allah that he will get well. I've heard there are some Christians from the United States in the next village this week. They have come with doctors and nurses to help us. I wonder if they can help my child. I hope my husband will let me take my child to the Christian doctor. They say you don't HAVE to study their holy book with them to see the doctor. But I'm curious. What is in their holy book that is not in ours. Isn't their God and our Allah the same? Why would these Americans want to leave their riches to come help us? Why would they want to help the Hindus and us Muslims? I saw my neighbor come back from there smiling and happy. I've never seen her so happy. I wonder... I hope....
The world wonders why... The world hopes...
"...But how are men to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can man preach unless they are sent?... How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!"
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, Spring 1993
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