As I’ve mentioned several times, my family spends time in a local government assisted housing development. We’ve become friends with some of the residents, and we’re still getting acquainted with others. Of course, we started spending time in this neighborhood because we desired to serve and love the residents.
Last weekend, Margaret and I and some friends visited one of the neighborhood residents in the hospital. She talked about how much she appreciated getting to know us all, and she thanked us repeatedly for serving and loving her. The funny thing is, it seems to me that she serves and loves us more than we do her. It seems that I’m learning more from her than she could possibly be learning from me.
So, I wasn’t surprised when I read what Brandon at “Eleutheros” wrote in a post called “Muhammad“. Apparently, Brandon has been spending time in an apartment complex in which many refugees live. He has recently met a young boy named Muhammad who has been a trouble maker. This is part of what Brandon wrote:
Last night, he was glued to me. I found out last week that both his mother and father physically abuse him, they yell at him rather than speaking to him and his father is very distant…when he’s not hitting him. He was like a completely different kid last night. He did have some moments, but he sat right down beside me and actually listened to the lesson. As we sat there, he put both of his arms around my right arm and his head on my shoulder as he listened to the story of Joseph. Again, my comfort zone was BLOWN WIDE OPEN! In our culture, guys don’t do that with men they don’t really know…or with guys they DO know. (In Africa this is not unusual behavior for boys or men) But the Holy Spirit reminded me that this kid is SO hungry to get attention and that he needs to see how God loves him. So I sat there with him until we were through with the lesson. Honestly, it was amazing. This kid who was one of the main reasons I didn’t want to do this is being knitted to me by God. It’s very humbling because my attitude was, “I’ll go, but I’m NOT going to deal with this Muhammad kid God, he’s your problem to deal with!”. I can see God smiling and saying, “Really?”. Last night when it was time to go, I went to give him a high five and he asked for a hug. He also wanted to know when I was coming back. This is nothing less than an act of God. I’m excited about what He is doing and what He is going to do in and through us in Clarkston.
I noticed that Brandon is dealing with the same issues that I’m dealing with. He went to this apartment complex to teach and love children. But, instead, he is the one who is being taught and he is the one who is being loved.
It is amazing how much God can teach us when we begin to give or serve or love just a little – when we actually start obeying him. I’ve also noticed that it is difficult to learn about serving and loving while you’re only reading about it or talking about it.