Sunday, September 28, 2008

You look right at me, but what do you see?

After nearly four years with us, our beloved Nadeek moved on last June. He’s a hard act to follow! How would I ever find someone new to care for the house, much less bond with him?

By mid-July avoidance was resulting in disarray. The balconies lay deep in sandy dust while I barely kept up indoors even in the quiet of just Curt and me and summer’s few guests. I got this idea--maybe the security guards downstairs would know of someone in need of a day or two of extra work.

With trepidation (would this open a can of worms?), I chose a moment when I knew the guards on duty were the friendlier ones who speak a bit of English. I approached their desk with my question.

“Oh yes, Madame! We have a friend….” “But does this friend clean houses?” As I feared, the worm-can opened. No, the friend had never cleaned houses, but he was a nice guy who needed extra work. “Does he speak any English?” “No, Madame.”

“Well, I’ll think about it….” I thanked them and turned toward the elevator. “But wait, Madame!” What now? Big smiles, alert eyes: “Now that we have told you about our friend, would you please tell us about your friend Jesus?”

I had looked right at them, but what had I seen?

John tells us about a hot dusty day in Samaria when Jesus was road-weary.
[1] Likely people-weary, too. They stopped by a well where he could rest while the disciples went for food. This woman came along, right at mid-day, to draw water. Believe me, in the heat of the Middle East no one would do that unless she wanted pretty badly to avoid other people! Jesus saw her with her water-jug and asked for a drink. She gave Him water, but was crabby about it, rude and mouthy.

The thing about this story that captivates me is that Jesus didn’t just see a woman with a jug. He saw a whole person, with desires and disappointments, and the need for eternal solutions. He saw her, and He saw how to turn the conversation into a story that would matter for eternity. How I long for that kind of alert compassion and discernment!

Back to my own encounter…. Long story short, two months later, Pawan and two other guards from Nepal and Ethiopia, have become regulars in our home, joining ongoing studies when they can, sharing meals and community. We are learning to know them and their lives. Curt gently walks with them through Basic Training for Real Christians.

I did hire their friend Deepak, a sweet 20-year old from Nepal who often hums or sings quietly as he works. He comes afternoons for 2-3 hours during his break from his other job. An apt student, he easily mastered new tools like vacuum cleaner and iron (“just please remember that’s the hot end!”), though the dishwasher remains a mystery. (I can see the wheels spinning. “Why does she put the dishes in that box?”) Pawan tells me Deepak loves working for us, that he says I treat him “like a son.”

Last week I took Deepak to the lobby so that Pawan could translate while I told him I would be away for six days. Pawan caught me again! “Madame,” he said as soon as he finished translating my instructions, “Now you can tell Deepak about Jesus!”
[1] John 4

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