I know a lot of faithful brothers and sisters with great stories. I’ve asked them to share their stories and every fifth Monday I’m going to pass their stories along.
This story is from my father-in-law, James Litsey. James has the purest missionary heart in the world and works with unreached people groups on a regular basis. Also, he let me marry his daughter. For that I am eternally grateful.
Here is one of his stories…
I work at a refugee resettlement agency. Recently we settled two large refugee families in the same apartment complex. One of the fathers speaks English pretty well. He called me after office hours on Christmas Eve to let me know that his family was out of food and asked if I could take him and his wife to Wal-Mart to buy some groceries.
I was tired and hungry and didn’t try very hard to keep my grumpy attitude to myself. What really steamed me was that I’d been in their apartment earlier that very day and could have taken them then if I’d known they needed anything. What can you say, though, when a family of nine doesn’t have food for their children? So I went to pick him up. But I wasn’t happy about it.
I’ve noticed that when I start to feel sorry for myself, God often twists the knife a little. So I wasn’t too surprised that, when I got there, the father of the other family wanted to come, too. His is a family of 10. Also out of food. And no English.
OK, Lord, you win. Again. Servants don’t complain. They serve their master. So please forgive my attitude. I’ll do this for you. Please help me get outside myself.
Things started to get better after that. I began trying to see their problem from their perspective instead of just being concerned about how it affected me. No one had shown them yet how to use the public buses. And transporting groceries for families of 9 and 10 on a city bus must surely be hard, even for someone who knows how.
They had lots of questions about food items they’d never seen, and wanted advice on what to buy. I had to encourage them to buy more than one day’s worth of food. They didn’t understand how to read the prices. They clearly needed more than groceries, they needed a major grocery store tutorial. And they appreciated getting one. Also, God had been working on my attitude and I was actually enjoying it until a confusing thing happened.
We were almost finished when we passed a basket containing discount bread. These were long loaves of bread baked in the store. Since it was near the end of the day the bread was marked way down. There was only one loaf left, and I suggested one of them buy it but they weren’t interested. I picked it up for myself and stuck it under my arm.
Then the guy who didn’t speak English took the bread from me and put it in his cart. I turned to the other father for an explanation but didn’t get much. “He wants the bread.” OK. Whatever.
I showed them how to check out. We loaded up and headed to their apartment complex. Lots of bags to unload, but 15 kids were there to help, so it didn’t take long. The last bag was the one with the long loaf of bread. I wasn’t going to let a loaf of bread mess up my evening. After all, servants don’t get to set their own wages, right?
Then the no-English father plucked the loaf out of the bag and gave it to me with a big smile. He didn’t want it after all. He’d wanted to buy it for me. Didn’t need to speak the same language to understand that.
It was good bread, too.