Ministry Outside the Box

The house next door to us has many people living in it. Sometimes it feels like we are living next door to an entire village! The bits and stories we hear about some of the residents sound like episodes out of a soap opera.

One of the inhabitants is this three month old baby shown here with his sister. Often we hear the baby crying (and I tend to get rather annoyed). On Monday he cried the entire day! Then I saw the baby with the grandmother who was trying to comfort the baby. She told me that the mother often goes to town for the whole day and leaves it with the family. Because all babies here are breastfed, he has often been hungry; hence the hours of crying.

Nearly in tears both by the sadness of the situation and disgust with my own attitudes toward the crying baby, I got in the car and went to town to by a bottle and some formula.

I find myself struggling with the whole situation. Part of me hates to ‘enable’ the mother to not take care of the child because the more care we give, the less she is likely to give, but another part of me only sees the need of this innocent hungry child. A child like this would be in serious danger if it got sick with malaria or another illness, besides the basic malnutrition. I may not be able to right all the wrongs of the world, but I decided I couldn’t let this hungry child die due to lack of proper nutrition.

Now the baby’s sisters often come to the house to bring back the empty bottle or ask for another one for their brother. This week they have also come to help weed our yard or help around the house – even insisting on weeding in the pouring rain. Today the older sister came with an armload of orchids for me to plant because she knows I like orchids. While she was pulling weeds, she asked, “Are you going to church tomorrow?”.

“Yes. Would you like to go along with us and go to Sunday School?”, I answered.

She quickly answered, “Yes!”

Our ministry here is mainly literacy, but it’s not hard to find ourselves in ministry ‘outside the box’ of our job title. I guess for any Christian, it is part of our job description;

And if you give even a

(or bottle of formula?) to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.