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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hungering Aplenty

Here's a clip from a story I recently received in my Bangla Hope newsletter, written by Elliott, a student missionary in Bangladesh. "Ra-june is a street boy. He lives on the streets of Dhaka and begs for his family. [We] met him one evening around 11 pm. He was begging for money. We took him to get some food. He was inspiring. When told to get whatever he wanted, all he would pick out was one roll. Upon prompting I was able to convince him to get a few other things, but always he insisted on the smallest amount. When we finished, we started walking away with him, only to find out that he would not be eating this food. It was for his little brother and mom. I quickly returned to the store and bought more food for Ra-june. He was so grateful, but his concern for others came through again. He tried to give the food back to me so I'd have something to eat. This is a boy who had nothing. Not even a place to sleep, for I saw the hard pavement that his lightly clothed body would be laying on that night. Even I, a foreigner, would sleep with two blankets that night. But still he took no more or asked for anything. [We] were so impressed with this boy, his tattered clothes, bare feet and wholesome heart, broke, inspired, and pulled at my innermost soul. This boy was something I never expected to find on the streets, he was more than I think I could ever have been if I was in his shoes. The next day we met up with Ra-june for my most memorable day in Bangladesh. [We] took him with us for the day. We took him out shopping, let him pick out (with LOTS of prodding) new clothes, shoes, toiletries, we went to lunch together, got him a bath. It was the most amazing day ever. This boy was inspiring. Never once did he ask for more, never once did he complain. . . Life had given him nothing, yet when given the opportunity to get anything and everything, he was not greedy. He was not entitled. He was happy. He was content. He was Inspiring. . . Joy is not based on your position or location in life, it is based on a choice. It is based on something bigger than me. It is based on God."

I go to the store and I agonize over which brand of tomato sauce to buy. When eating at a buffet, I stuff myself till my stomach hurts. I eat three meals a day and have snacks on hand if I should get peckish. I buy specialty foods because I feel like eating them. My fridge is full, my cupboards are full, and my wallet is full. I am blessed with more than enough and yet often I forget.

I forget the little boys like Ra-june who are sleeping on the pavement. I forget that he will be lucky to have one meal tomorrow while I eat three. I forget that Ra-june is not the only child who must experience hunger as a way of life. I forget to give that cold cup of water to the one who asks.

Some feel called to be a doctor or a teacher, to give their lives in mission service, or to sell all they have and live on faith alone. Sometimes, all Jesus asks for is a cup of cold water, a loaf of warm bread, a bowl of vegetable soup. I may not go overseas but I can do something for the children. I cannot feed all of them, but I can feed one. Or two or three.

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