Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Laid-up 'follower'

I recently had an accident. I slipped in my garage and dislocated my knee-cap. At this stage in the recovery I am mostly in bed. This has allowed me to do a lot of reading... (let me interject that we are still waiting for our caseworker to finish writing our home-study before we can send on a completed dossier, so we are waiting...) ....okay, the reading.
I have read a book about a woman who has taken in hundreds of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. Some children are simply orphaned by AIDS because both parents died of the disease, but the child is not positive, and some are actually inflicted with the disease and were orphaned, abandoned, or just shunned by their families. She started her home by just taking one at a time, with no financial assistance and a desire to take in the undesirable. I was humbled by how big of a difference one person can make and asked myself if my offering to the poor, the widowed, the orphaned and the downcast is anywhere near what God is asking of each one of us.
I have also been reading "Irresistible Revolution" by a young man from East Tennessee who now lives in Philly amongst the poorest of society. He and his friends share whatever they own with anyone who is in need in their community, feeling a deep commitment to walk with the poor as 'followers' of Jesus and not just 'believers'.
I was struck by the absolute enormous amount of people in Ethiopia, especially, that have just been forgotten. Forgotten by a government who showed the inability to deal with the years of war, famine and disease. Forgotten by the afflunet nations who haven't fulfilled their promises to send aid, our country being one that has fallen short of its' monetary commitment. Now there are somewhere around 4 million orphans in Africa. Not to mention the millions of people that have died of starvation or AIDS. The drugs that have been so effective in our country at giving people with HIV a shot at life, weren't available in Africa until just a few years ago. From what I understand, that is because the company that made the drug didn't want to give up their patent to allow generic versions to be sold at such a low cost, even to these destitute countries.
So, when people ask why Chris and I have chosen to adopt from Ethiopia, I guess it's obvious. Ethiopia has the largest population of orphans of any country in the world. How could we not? One in four kids attend school, and the prospects seem even grimmer for girls. I pray that this is just the beginning of our connection to Ethiopia.
And laying here affords me the opportunity to now reflect. When was the last time I checked on the 80 year-old widow next door? When was the last time I fed a poor person?
We have been teaching Tony the two greatest commandments that Jesus spoke of. Am I 'following' them or just 'believing' them? Will he 'catch' Jesus from me or just learn about Him? Is praying for the orphaned, the widowed and the poor enough?

"God, break our hearts for the things that break yours!"

So, I am anxious to get healthy again, that is, to be able to stand, drive and walk around easily. When I am, I want to be found 'following' Jesus and not just 'believing' Him. I will continue to pray. To pray for all those who haven't been shown Jesus....pray that we as followers can get to them and show them Jesus by meeting their needs... a meal, a conversation or a place to call home. That is what He asks of us. Let it be.