Friday, June 17, 2011

The Cracked Playing Marble

Just back from a challenging but inspiring missions trip to Nassau, I am pondering some of the things that I saw and heard. We went to help and encourage a veteran missionary who has ministered in Nassau for more than 40 years. Her passion is the Haitian refugee children and her love for them is palpable.

Having been a missionary myself in West Africa for more than twenty years, this trip was different for me in two ways. My husband was not with me (we have always done missions together since 1985) and I was on the "giving" end instead of "receiving". While I missed my husband - particularly the first couple of days - I adjusted and was mesmerized at how good it felt to be pouring into a missionary and her ministry. A delightful change for me.

One day while we were at a local department store there in Nassau buying bags of marbles and soccer balls for some of the Haitian children, the missionary told us a story that had happened while she was visiting a church in West Virginia. She was collecting clothes and toys to be taken into Haiti. In the midst of loading bag after bag from the gracious church members, she noticed a young boy standing away from the crowd. He looked at the missionary anxiously and it was evident that he wanted to say something to her.

Stepping away from the truck that was being loaded, she walked to the boy and asked his name. "Charlie," said the boy who was dressed in well-worn clothes and looked in need of a good, hearty meal. Shyly he extended his hand to the missionary and placed a shiny red but deeply chipped marble in her hand. "This is for the Haitian children that have nothing. It's all I have but I would rather them have it. I can probably find another marble one day." The missionary was overpowered by the obvious sacrifice that this little boy was making. On the verge of telling him to please keep his marble, she looked into his eyes and knew that she could not. She determined in her heart to find just the right little Haitian boy who would cherish this prized possession. She gave that promise to the little boy as she hugged him tightly.

A cracked marble. Just one. But yet this little boy wanted to give it away.

What is it today that your hand holds so tightly to?