Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Hands and Feet of Jesus

Well, in the continuing saga that is my life, I have severely jacked up my knee in a motorcycle accident! I wish I had some great story like “this car just came out of no where, slammed into me, and sped off!”


I ran over some gravel and the bike slipped. Yeah......

There are so many things to wonder like : Why did it have to happen now in the hot season? At the beginning of rainy season? Why did it have to happen at all?

BUT.....on the flip side, there are so many things to be grateful for and to be humbled by.

First of all, on Monday as I was getting dressed, I decided to put on tennis shoes and socks. Being that it’s Africa and hot, I almost never where closed shoes (I know, not the brightest thing ever on a motorbike, but true). However, yesterday I did have on tennis shoes and my feet are just fine. That wouldn’t have been true in a pair of flip-flops.

I wore jeans on the bike yesterday. That protected my legs from getting cuts, bruises, scrapes, etc. And, the scrapes on my arm are only superficial. Seeing as I was wearing short sleeves, that’s a miracle.

The bike landed exhaust up and I landed a couple of feet from the bike. The exhaust on a bike gets pretty hot and I have seen people burned all the way to the bone by the exhaust pipe. I am so grateful for that!

When I crashed my bike, dozens of strangers came running to get me and the bike out of the road. One stranger stopped in his car to take me to the hospital. Another pushed my bike to the police station where it would be safe until I could get it. A missionary friend (and my landlord) was passing by and also stopped. He ended up taking me to the hospital. I couldn’t get into his car with my bum knee, so two ladies lifted me up and put me in the car. When I couldn’t walk into the hospital and no wheelchair could be found, he put my arm around his neck and served as my own personal crutch.

At the hospital, they had to cut my jeans to put the cast on. So, one of my teammates went home and grabbed his wife’s kapalana ( a rectangular piece of cloth used as a skirt) so I didn’t have to flash my underwear to the entire world. On the way back to the hospital, he stopped and bought me some cold water.

The last two nights, a missionary whom I only met two days ago, has been staying with me so that she can help me do whatever needs to be done. Bring me water, help me to the bathroom, make me breakfast, bring me my phone charger.....you name it, she’s done it. They are actually in town to attend a conference this week, so she is taking care of me in addition to attending the conference and taking care of her own family. She brought all kinds of goodies for her family to snack on and each day she shares them with me. Every night their family goes to a local restaurant and when they come home they bring supper for me.

My teammate Lori has had to help me go to the bathroom, take a bath, wash my hair, change clothes......and everything else in between. Each time she comes for a visit she brings me muffins or mangos (which I love!)

My teammate Sandra brought me lunch yesterday on her break from the conference she is attending, helped me to the bathroom, and just gave me some company - which I desperately appreciated.

Yesterday, my teammate Victor spent hours going around town trying to find me shampoo and juice. I kept telling him that whatever kind he found was just fine, but he kept telling me that he was going to look until he found what I wanted. When he brought the stuff in and I said thanks, he just simply shrugged and said, “You need help. We are just down the street. Call anytime day or night. You don’t have to ask. We’ll do it.”

Dinis, my team leader, and his wife Balbina, spent more than three hours going from store to store looking for crutches for me (not something the hospital here has, go figure). When they couldn’t find any, they went to a village pretty far out where they knew they could get some canes. They then brought the canes to me and promised to go out the next day to find crutches.

The first night it was more comfortable to sleep on the couch, so Dinis and Balbina went home (which is a 20 min drive - on their motorbike) and got a mosquito net to hang over my couch. They came to visit yesterday, just to check up on me and promised to be here again tomorrow.

Last night, a missionary from Australia, who happens also to be a physical therapist and whom I had only met once, came to visit with a pair of crutches, some good pain medicine, and a hacksaw! She said that having my knee extended like that was not good and set to work getting the cast off my leg. She’s coming back later this week to check on me. She said she can also help with exercises once I am ready.

I am so humbled by all of this help. Every need I have has been met with cheerfulness. When I say ‘thank you’ my friends simply respond, “People who love you just want to help you.”

The feet of Jesus never looked so much like a few dozen Africans running to my rescue.

The hands of Jesus never looked so much like friends who willing to help me wash my hair, take a bath, fix my meals, fluff my pillows, carry my phone, computer and kindle from room to room, take a hacksaw to that unbearable cast, and so very much more.

The arms of Jesus never felt so much like the constant stream of people dropping in to hug me and just sit and chat for a few minutes.

The face of Jesus never looked so much like Benadi, my guard, who faithfully comes in my house at the beginning and end of his shift everyday just to see how I’m feeling. 

Friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers have bent over backwards and sacrificed their own time and their own plans to help me with such gentleness and cheerfulness. 

I think sometimes we (okay, at least I) think that the being the hands and feet of Jesus is something huge or miraculous. I think we look for the blind-eyes-see kind of thing.

But, I am here to tell you, that Jesus has been in this home this week. His hands and feet have looked like people from many different tribes in Mozambique. His hands and feet have looked like people from 5 different countries. His voice has had several different accents and has spoken in different languages.

His joy has been evident in arms that hugged me, hands that served me, and feet that went where I could not to get things that I wanted/needed to make me more comfortable.

Don’t ever underestimate how much serving another person shows who Jesus really is. I am humbled and grateful for these beautiful people who have shown me my beautiful Jesus. For him, serving another person was never a big deal, it was what he came to do. When we do that for another person, we have demonstrated the love of Jesus in a more powerful way than anything else ever could.

I have had a lesson in humility this week. I have had a lesson in serving others. I so deeply love these people who have made me feel like it is there privilege to help me. I so deeply love the Jesus who shines so brightly through them.