A friend in need... (Part 1)
Hmmm. Where to start? How can I possibly explain the amount of need we see here in Lusaka... Let's start with this from James 2:15-17:
"15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
or how about this from Matthew 5:39-42:
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
How are we called to respond? Scripture seems pretty clear. I'm still putting this all together in my mind but here's what we see:
We can't go anywhere without being inundated with requests for food, money, rides, work, help, etc. We are approached daily by random strangers looking for work or help. It's not just because we are mzungus (white foreigners), Zambians with (and even without) resources have similar experiences. While we live very modestly by American standards (and by wealthy Zambian standards too - people are shocked to find out that Tricia does her own laundry and cooking), we are still living far and above the average Zambian standard. We are constantly reminded of this as we visit people in the compounds (slums).
People ask us for things because they can clearly see that we have resources! For instance, we needed a roof-rack for our truck so we can take visitors and short term teams and their luggage to and from the airport, and so we can haul stuff to Ciyanjano. While it was being installed I sat and practiced my Nyanja with the guard. I learned that he and his wife and their infant daughter lived off of his wages alone. The roof-rack I was installing was almost a year's salary. So how are we called to respond?