Sunday, October 28, 2007

Around the World

"Therefore go ye.."

The road was filled with people (and the usual fair share of farm animals) which was a good indication we had reached our destination. The van was quickly surrounded by the curious and anxious and we struggled to gather our program supplies, backpacks, necessary liters of water and our 36" inflated world!

Usually Pastor J wrangles the globe with a laugh at having the "world in his hands". Since it is the largest item (and most visible) in our arsenal of goods, it gets a good deal of attention. The Pastor of the church ushered us into the building where there were already a few parents cradling their disabled children. The Pastor explained many more were coming, but the difficulty in travel (complicated by distance and disability) was causing some delay.

V and I sat on the floor with the children, talking with them, stroking their disfigured limbs and watching how the mere sensation of being touched made them smile. We engaged the parents in simple conversation, asking the names and ages of their children (a variety of ages and disabilities) and waited as the room slowly began to fill with the infirm, the forgotten, and the rejected. The one thing they all had in common was they were all carried into the church in the arms of their parents.

As in many rural impoverished areas, wheelchairs, or other mobility aids are non-existent. As the children grow older, and heavier, their parents ability to transport them becomes more and more of an issue, an outing that takes a taxi or bus ride is a luxury they can seldom afford.

They were happy to be there, but I am equally sure, they would have been happy to be anywhere. Away from their normal environment, surrounded by others in similar physical prisons, had to be of some comfort. We were 20,000 miles from home in the house of the God of all comfort. We were happy to be there too.

One of the girls (afflicted with cerebral palsy) kept pointing to the globe. The big ball would be great to throw and hit across the room. We watched the world go flying above the heads of the other children, and basked in the joy of her laughter. When V gave the introduction using the source of the young girl's happiness, she laughed out loud, waving her arms waiting to play with these strange strangers.

The program was well received, wide-eyed gasps, at the non-magic "magic" of unequal ropes, caterpillars into butterflies, and a Bible that goes from "blank" to colorful pages, had them intrigues.

As always, the story is what turns their hearts. I know why Jesus always taught in "parables", because the "story" within the story is where lives are changed. I shared the story of the Apple Tree, with it's disappointment and frustration at being different - the looks of emotion registered on the crowd, holding very different and probably disappointment as well.

The end of our story is written by a Creator who is incapable of making a mistake. While the physical form we find our self in may tell a different story - as I shared with this special group - His Word, tells the truth of all human stories, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope."

Twenty thousand miles is pretty good evidence of that.