As I woke up this morning I could already feel the effects of staying up to write the update from yesterday’s outreach. My head was pounding, my throat sore, and I could feel joint pain even in places I didn’t know I had joints. I stumbled to the shower and got ready for the day ahead. I had no idea what I was in store for, but I knew it was going to be good.
The ride up was a little wet, and it started to rain. I was praying the whole time that this would just evaporate or go away, but the forecast didn’t look good; predicting it was going to be a wet Friday the entire day.
After the first session of teaching it was time to get into teams. I laugh to myself every time we do this; us leaders in line and the ones being led are picking who they want to go with. Yesterday I was the last one; today is no exception. So an older man approached who was very hard of hearing.
I’ll be honest, it was a struggle to communicate with this man. Even though he had a pair of hearing aids installed, he was still struggling. So far he has been trying to use his phone as a “closed captioning” device which worked great as we snuck into a corner for prayer; but when we got out into the public, it picked up everyone else’s conversation — including cuss words. We were able to talk to a mother and her adult daughter as we ate lunch with them — sharing a picnic table. They were both Christians, but I used the time to share with my partner how to use his five senses (which one was not working at the moment). She was wearing a cross, but also a W.W.J.D. and F.R.O.G. bracelet. I asked her what F.R.O.G. meant, to which she replied, “forever rely on God.” I thought it was a cute saying, that I never heard before, but it opened a door to talk with her and her mother.
After we ate we took a stroll to the square to help take pictures of couples or families that are struggling. With my friend’s hearing loss, it was difficult for the people to communicate with him. I even tried to joke around with him (not about his hearing loss), and the closed captioning didn’t have the same effect. So we decided to go back to the church and try to do some role-playing. When we made it back, Tony, one of the leaders, noticed my frustration and thought it would be best to switch partners. Whey my partner told him what was going on, he said, “I tried to heal my ear infections with olive oil this morning and unfortunately shorted out both hearing aids.” Now I felt even worse for this man. He was struggling harder than I ever could have.
My new partner and I manned the booth just outside the church where I started out yesterday morning. It was good, and we had some good conversations. One young lady said when she received a tract that, “I’m a Christian too and Jesus is my buddy.” I don’t know about you, but it just didn’t sit well with me. Jesus created all life on this planet, became a human being, suffered, died, and rose again to defeat death; and all she could think was that the Savior of all mankind was her “buddy?” I was real gentle with her because I’ve heard others use harsher wording to describe Him; but still lacked a level of respect in my opinion. We talked about the tract that we gave her, and shared the many things Jesus has done for her. Whether or not she agreed, it was good to at least talk about it.
We packed up the table and went back inside for the final teaching and Q&A session. I was exhausted and thankful I made it back home in one piece from my hour-long drive. Though the day wasn’t picture-perfect, I learned some valuable lessons that I normally wouldn’t have. I really need to focus more on the person I am trying to teach instead of focusing on the situation; changing things up according to his needs and not my own. To love my brother first and foremost. The Lord blessed us too — the rain was diverted and never did pour down like they predicted it would.
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