One of the most challenging parts of missions is financial help. When only certain individuals are struggling to pay bills and buy food understanding who to help is easy. But when most people are in this situation, things are less clear. Issues such as lack of consistent work, and not enough jobs to go around means poverty is an issue for many Vincentians.
I would love to financially care for every single family in Barrouallie….but of course I cannot do that
So I focus on helping those who are in “great need”
There are a few requirements for what makes a great need, but one of them is the individuals health is affected. Most people in Saint Vincent goes to a public clinic that’s open once or twice a week and offers free examinations. The only thing you pay for is the medication!
In most cases going to the clinic will take care of the problem. But for more serious health concerns you must visit a private doctor, who is much more expensive. Sadly some individuals don’t have the money to pay the private doctor and allow the serious health problem to continue!
Last week I helped three individuals who were in serious physical need:
- A two-year old girl who had a chest cold (I could hear her wheezing in her chest) and was sent to a private doctor
- A girl who feel down and did serious damage to her mouth as well as teeth, and was sent to a private doctor
- And a man who because of a bike accident had a serious open wound in this side that couldn’t be dealt with at the clinic. I ended up getting him guaze, bandages, peroxide, and antibiotic cream
The important thing isn’t actually my giving, but my stopping to help those in need.
Thankfully the Lord allowed me to give the money that could be spent on visiting the private doctor. But even if I didn’t have it, there were other things that I could have done to help them.
Experiencing these individuals in great need reminded me of the parable of the good Samaritan who stopped to help the man who had been attacked by robbers. You know the story of course! Two religious men saw this person in need and instead of stopping, passed by on the other side. They probably were afraid that the thieves were close by waiting to attack somebody else! Whatever the reason, they ignored the man who was desperately in need of help.
This is convicting because like the religious men we (myself included) often pass by the individual in great need without even trying to help! Often this is because we cannot offer FINANCIAL HELP but there are many other ways to help the needy around us.
- With a genuine concern
- With a listening ear, and full attention
- With an encouraging word from Scripture
- With a shoulder to cry on
Over the summer missionary Jonathan Archer gave the following definition for missions….
Sitting with the hurting, celebrating with the rejoicing
The more I think about those words, the more powerful they are to me. Especially the part of about sitting with the hurting.
The time will come when I cannot open my wallet and help those in great need (it often does). But in those moments instead of walking on I can sit with them in their suffering, and remind them God will supply all of their needs.