No! Come on! What are they thinking? Will they really give up this opportunity to help their suffering sister because they're scared and because it causes them a slight inconvenience?!
We drove down the hill from the village of Huara (wara) feeling utterly dejected and the trip a seemingly complete failure.
Last year, DJ and Manny had taken a trip to Huara, a community cut-off from road access during the rainy season, to offer free medical consultation and begin a relationship with these people. Their experience was positive and many from the village asked them to return, even expressing their desire to start up a group of believers. In June, we decided to make another trip to Huara, hoping to strengthen relationships and lay a stronger foundation for a future evangelistic-emphasis trip.
Another major reason to go was a middle-aged lady by the name Augustina. An unfortunate fall nearly 2 years ago left her a cripple, her dislocated hip and broken leg bones "healing" in their crooked and painful positions. Due to her mental handicap and the potential cost, the family never took her to get medical care. We planned to offer to take Augustina and a family member to the city, cover the cost for the needed diagnoses and surgeries, their care while in the city, and their passage home. Augustina's mother would never be able to come up with the money to do this, so we thought that surely this act of kindness would mean the world to her in addition to making life much easier.
When we arrived, we spoke with Augustina's family, presented our offer, and let them think about it over the next few days while the medical team attended to other people. When the doctors were finished, we went by to pick Augustina up.
"Thanks, but no thanks," was their reply.
After reiterating the offer over and over again, we began to let it go. "Thanks, but no thanks." They didn't want the help. It was inconvenient for them at the time and, in other words, they were scared and didn't trust us.
It was a hard blow. We drove away frustrated and pensive. How could someone turn down a gift so big that they could never pay for it? Augustina couldn't decide for herself and her family was unwilling to make the sacrifice. It was mind-boggling.
After much prayer and seeking God's guidance, we realized that it hadn't been the failure we first thought it to be. We had to respect the family's decision and be willing to make our offer again if God so led us to.
Looking back at the family's refusal, we thought a lot about our relationship with God. Sometimes we refuse God's invitations for things we could never have or experience on our own. Sometimes our refusal even affects others negatively. God offers us so much more than we could ever come up with on our own. But, it is best received through a relationship. How can we trust God if we don't know Him? Or how can we believe His promises if we don't know what they are? It is so important to get to know Jesus better every day, building a continually deeper and closer trusting relationship with Him.
Maybe someday we will be able to help Augustina. Maybe not. Success is not our department, willing obedience to God's leading is. And that starts over every morning. So take the risk and accept God's gift to you! It will be joy to His heart and yours.
DJ & Jodi Knott
DJ changes a flat tire with eager onlookers.
One benefit of no electricity or media:
easy friendship evangelism.