They call him “Baba.”
Every morning, he takes the arm of a young boy, and walks the dusty path from his village to a rambling house. The gate creaks as they enter the yard. Warm greetings ring out.
Hands reach out to support his elbows as he shuffles his battered rubber sandals off at the door and walks bare-footed into the cool front room. There, he settles into a woven chair tucked in the front corner. A small black stereo sits on the chair next to him, ready to play sermons.
There he sits, quietly listening, day in and day out.
I met him more than a year ago, but still, I remember his contentment. His inner peace. His joy.
The grey threads his wiry hair. Lines groove his face. His education is clear in his lightly accented English and tales of world travels.
In a village of about 5,000, he is the only Christian – the one convert for missionaries working in that area for more than a decade.
Can I be honest here? Over the past year, I’ve wrestled with being in one place and wanting another place. I’ve had to remain guarded, because I love Montana. I could throw in the towel at any moment and settle down.
It’s an obstacle I’ve stumbled on repeatedly as support-raising moves at what seems to be a glacial pace.
Even as I write this update, missionary friends sent a newsletter with this quote from F.B. Meyer:
Indeed there is nothing God will not do for those who will dare to step out in faith onto what appears to be only a mist. As they take their first step, they will find a rock beneath their feet.
It’s a tricky thing, faith. Almost always, it’s not the easy path.
And then I think of Baba. You see, he doesn’t. Not anymore. He is blind.
The other day, I listened to Baba’s words from an interview more than a year ago.
“My life’s changed. Now, I don’t have eyes. But I enjoy (life) more than when I had two eyes.”
I cannot overstate this. Baba is old. He is blind. He is the only Christian among thousands. And yet, he has more contentment than most of us – myself included – living in relative ease.
His life is a testimony to faith, to believing in the unseen. His steadfast walk with God fuels the hope that perhaps more seeds of the gospel have been planted in that remote area and will bear fruit in time.
Let that sink in. Give you some perspective.
When I question the perseverance required to return to Africa and share more stories of people like Baba, I remember something else he said:
“I am fearless. I don’t worry about tomorrow. I don’t worry what is going to happen with anything, because I know that I am with Jesus.”
Oh, to be fearless like Baba.
To clear up any confusion about my previous announcement, here’s a clarification:
I’m just two months away from my target departure for Kenya and I still need to raise about $1,400/month before I can board the plane for a two-and-a-half year assignment with Africa Inland Misson’s On-Field Media team.
Thanks for your support and encouragement! I wouldn’t have been able to reach my first target of $10,000 without your help.