My eyes snap open suddenly. Yes, it is morning, I observe. Getting my bearings, Oh … yes, India, my sleepy thoughts recollect.
I calculate it to be about 7 AM, and already the tropical heat is bearing down making sweat run freely on my skin. Check for the vital signs, I urge myself. Yes, the fan is moving. Yay! We have electricity. Pulling my heavy body up from the bed I check the still peacefully sleeping family. All is well.
Waddling across the main hall I head for the kitchen. Is there water today? With a last sleepy yawn I turn the tap. Ahhh …… water! Thank you for this blessing today, Lord!
Okay! Now it is time to open the kitchen window and fill my lungs with the invigorating morning air. I love this time of the morning—fresh, uncluttered with demands, allowing for moments of quiet reflection before the rush of the day. With difficulty, I lean across the deep kitchen sink to unlatch the windows. My swollen stomach is in the way. With a final lunge, my well-practiced fingers pry the tiny latches to release the steel bar from its secure holding.
With deft fingers I fling open the windows.
“Ahhhgggg!” I scream. A wild man is standing at the window. I recognize him as the old beggar I have often seen on the main road rummaging through the rubbish for a scrap of food and always lugging behind his worn-out figure a soiled duffle bag hosting his worldly possessions. But I have never seen him here before … at my house! With wild gesturing and incoherent words the dirty, unkempt beggar proceeds to tell me something.
I am struck with horror, alarm! Does he have plans to attack me? I cannot understand what he is saying. Panicking, I call for reinforcements. “George!” I bellow, unable to flee as my feet are planted to the floor in paralyzing fear.
Abruptly awakened by my scream, my darling husband George rushes from the bedroom and into the kitchen. Disheveled and still groggy, he arrives ready to annihilate the intruding large hairy spider that he thinks has dared to enter my personal space. With eyes bulging he discovers the cause of my alarm—the frenzied beggar man grunting and groaning at me through the kitchen window.
I relax. George is here now and is talking to the pitiful man. Numerous questions course through my mind: What is he doing here? Why is he yelling at me through the window? Does he realize how scary he looks? My mental investigations are suspended with a directive from George. “He’s hungry. Quickly make him some food and tea!”
With urgency, I reheat some of last evening’s meal and boil fresh Indian tea. My own need for a “cuppa” is suspended for the moment. I start to pray as I ready the meal.
I can hear George sharing the gospel with the poor, wretched man. Soon I carry the beggar’s food and tea on a tray out into the front compound. Placing the food before him with a prayer of blessing, I stand back to allow the starving man to eat in privacy.
The forming child in my womb suddenly moves and I affectionately rub my bulging stomach, delighting in the miracle of new life. Lifting my eyes, I am drawn to the beggar once more. I scan his face and figure. He is very old and obviously sick. His clothes are rags; his skin is caked in filth. His meager belongings of a chipped enamel cup, a few old tins, and another scrap of threadbare cloth are retrieved from his bag. My heart cries out with compassion and prayer. Does he know about eternity? Will he accept Jesus and enter into heaven when he dies?
The hungry man swiftly finishes every last morsel and sips his tea. All along George talks to him, sharing with him the love of God. The thought that he may leave our house unsaved is truly unbearable. Fervent prayer gushes from my heart for his salvation—here and now, for he may not have a tomorrow! All too soon the nameless beggar heaves himself with great difficulty from the ground. He has other beggarly duties to attend to.
George and I watch him slowly lumber up the street towards the main road, his usual dwelling place.
“That is the first time he has ever come here!” I say to George. “I am so glad that he came.”
“How did he respond to the Lord?” is my first question. George’s reply will be forever impressed on my heart and mind, a story of the remarkable love of God.
“I have been praying specifically for him for some days. He will die soon. The Lord has directed him here so he can be saved before he dies. He has heard the gospel and accepted Jesus.”
Tears stream down our faces. We are speechless, overwhelmed by the depths of God’s love and mercy for a shunned beggar—forgotten by most, but not by His Creator.
My mind swirls with the early morning events: God inspires George to pray for an unknown beggar’s salvation. The Holy Spirit compels the beggar to leave his search for food in the rubbish heap and to instead visit our house. Having been prepared through prayer, George is ready to share the gift of salvation to the dying man! Did he know that God was ordering his steps? All events orchestrated sovereignly by a merciful God. Simply awesome! Simply the amazing love of God!
That was the last ever seen or heard of that beggar.
One beggar among millions. One man’s eternal destiny decided! Only one salvation for all.
Missions – is it worth the inconveniences, long separations from family and friends, deprived of the ‘norm’ of familiar culture, unbearable weather conditions that weary body and soul? Is one soul worth it? Oh yeah!