(Written Wednesday Night - 3/22)
This morning I left the mission with Pastor Rony, his wife, and Noah. All I knew was that Rony asked me to come with him to visit his friend, who lives in another village north of here. (The drive took about thirty minutes, so it must have been around three miles away.) We entered the town of Luly (pronounced â€œlee-leeâ€�) which is a small collection of cement huts with tin roofs on a hill next to the ocean. I found it beautiful. Noah was also impressed, but only with the pigs he insists on calling puppies.
On our drive, I learned that the man we were visiting sells bread on the street in La Digue, and Pastor Rony doesnâ€™t know him well, but has witnessed to him on occasion. His name, when pronounced in Creole, sounds exactly like â€œelephantâ€�. I still need to find out a proper spelling on that one â€“ Iâ€™ll get back to you. He lives alone in an 8x8 foot cement room with a corrugated tin roof. The door was a lace curtain hung by a shoelace. I looked out the door and wondered why someone had spent the money to pour concrete between the buildings. Then I realized I was looking at the bare earth; the hard rocky surface where the soil has all been washed away.
â€œElephantâ€� changed out of his one pair of shorts and put on his one pair of pants since he had company. While he went to buy sodas for his guests (which Iâ€™m sure used quite a bit of his monthly income), Rony told me that he wanted to pay this man a visit to ask him to come to church and to see if we could pray with him.
We had a nice talk, and I participated as much as I could with my limited language skills, and got to know each other a little bit. The whole experience was educational and enjoyable, and one thing that really stood out to me was his answer to this question Rony asked: â€œCan you come and visit us at our church?â€� His response was this: â€œI donâ€™t have time.â€�
That struck me as funny and sad all at once. And it sounds all too familiar. Iâ€™m sure that is the number one reason that Americans also use for not attending worship services. I can see the distractions and business of our culture in the US leading some to believe they are too â€œbusyâ€� for spiritual things. Iâ€™m sure that is by design and the intention of our enemy, Satan. We are not alone in falling for this lie. Even in this society, where there is 80% unemployment and no modern â€œconveniencesâ€� or technology to distract them, many people â€œdonâ€™t have timeâ€� for God.
As I was thinking it, I heard Pastor Rony telling him that if we donâ€™t make time for Godâ€™s things now, we will have lots of time (forever) to regret it later.
I found myself sitting in a shack today worlds away from where Iâ€™m from. The truth of Godâ€™s love for us and our need for Him is the same no matter where we are sitting, how busy we are, or what challenges we face. God was there with us in that room today, and the man we came to visit recognized his need for the saving grace of our Creator. He saw that apart from God, we are striving after wind, lost in our sin. Even Noah listened intently as we gained a brother in Christ, and witnessed a man receive unending grace and eternal salvation.