Samuel Zwemer said, “Itinerant evangelism is to carry the cup of cold water to the dying…to go into the byways of life, the lonely huts and hovels, to leave the 90 and 9 in the church pews and seek the lost sheep until you find them. It is the quest for one lost soul.”
It is the quest for one lost soul.
I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and visit, but occasionally there would be a free afternoon when I could walk to a small village near ours. My friend, Christine, would often join me. The short twenty-minute walk there was enough…the hot sun, the sand blowing. However, there is something about the desert that fascinates.
It was a poor small village. The huts were mud with thatched roofs. There were few trees but plenty of thorn bushes. In fact, the corral for the cows and goats was made from thorn bushes stacked together.
The ladies sat out under the shade of a tree to talk and do their house work. The men gathered under other trees nearby, sitting on mats, talking. Since we had been there before, we knew where to find the house of the village chief. We went there first to give our greetings, and to seek permission to stop there and chat with the ladies.
After those formalities, we went to our favorite house: Fatima’s house. Fatima always had a smile and a friendly word. Today, it was windy and hot, so she took us inside her hut where we sat on a mat on her mud floor.
In the center of her home was one huge bed raised off the ground, surrounded by mats and netting to escape the nighttime creatures. Clay pots full of water and storage items lined the walls. A few dishes and clothes completed her worldly possessions. The fire place where she cooked was mud, baked hard. Cooking outside was impossible because of the constant wind.
Quickly she made tea even though we protested, knowing that she was very poor and that tea and sugar were costly. But she gathered her few small glasses on a tray, fired up her precious fuel to make tea, and served us the best that she had.
In turn, we gave Fatima the best that we had. We gave to her the hope of the Gospel.
Today, I can’t go back to Fatima’s village. It is in a war zone. I wonder, does Fatima remember the words of hope, of life, of love, of forgiveness? What a privilege Christine and I had of seeking out the one lost sheep. Oh, how precious she is. I wonder…
“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow…”Mark 4:3