International Ministries

A Baby was Crying

October 24, 2011 Journal
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“A baby was crying for hours, and so I couldn’t get to sleep last night.”  My friend, a missionary working in southern Africa, had asked a man how he was, as one does, when the fellow arrived at his house to do some work.  The man went on to complain again, “The baby just wouldn’t stop crying, but finally it died.”  My friend was startled and appalled by such a comment, and asked, “Was the baby sick? What did it die from?”  The other man answered, “No, not sick.  My neighbor had a baby girl last night.  They did not want another baby, and could not take care of another child, so they threw her down a dry well.  But she just wouldn’t die.  It took hours, and she kept crying, and really messed up my sleep.”

My friend was stunned, and finally asked, “Baba, why didn’t you go save the baby?” The man had a look of puzzlement on his face, and said, “You just don’t understand.  I cannot take care of my own problems.  Why would I want to take someone else’s problem?”

My friend said, “Baba, if something like this ever happens again, you must come tell me first. We will find a way to take care of the baby.”  The other man’s last words as he walked away were, “You just don’t understand.”

Clearly, we have much work to do in order to make known how much we value human life and are willing and able to offer help to save others.  The murder of children (or anyone!) is always wrong, but we must seek to understand the reasons for such desperate acts to bring Heaven’s values to earth.  When we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” we are committing ourselves to join with God in taking action to make sure that God’s will IS done.  We must do as much as we can in the short term to stop terrible and unacceptable tragedies like this, but we cannot simply stop with Band Aids.  This is why we want to empower people economically, so they can feed their children.  This is why we are compelled to tell the Good News of the God that loves and cares.

When a person believes that God is remote, weak or unmoved by human suffering, there is no hope.  The simple transition to knowing and coming into relationship with the God of the Bible, who is close, powerful and loving, gives hope.  And hope changes everything.

A big chunk of my work is helping cross cultural workers put together appropriate ways to address such issues.  A huge problem is that we indeed do NOT understand, and we must spend a great deal of time and effort in listening and learning, or we never get deep enough for real change to occur.  That must be done first before a culturally appropriate and therefore effective long term response can be formulated.  We must be extremely careful that what we do actually meets the local people’s needs in the best way, and is not designed simply to make us feel better.  Another part of my job is caring for the workers whose hearts are cut to shreds by meeting incidents like the one just related, and who are dealing with poverty, disease and death constantly.

This is the time of year when many churches receive the World Mission Offering. The World Mission Offering keeps missionaries where God has called them.  And it helps support our local partners, so we can join together in changing this world into what God wants it to be.  Thank you for partnering with me through your prayers and financial support, as I also share in what God with God’s people is doing in a variety of places and with a variety of people.  (II Cor. 6:1).

Yours in Christ,

Walt White

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