Care enough to bring the Coke…

Several years ago, I had the good fortune of travelling to Mozambique, Africa on a mission trip.  The pastor we were visiting had been telling his various congregations about our upcoming visit.  When we arrived in a rural village, you can imagine my surprise when I was warmly greeted – with an old glass, liter bottle of Coca-Cola!
Wanting to be hospitable, the villagers had sent one of their own to the closest city in order to buy a bottle because they had been told that Americans loved Coca-Cola! 
A village ravished by AIDS
        A village with no electricity or reliable water source
                An agricultural people who live off the scant land
                        A village where little ones suffered from Malaria 
A village that I thought I was going to serve, and yet they were the ones who served me
I have often thought of this simple act of kindness and wondered if Ialways care enough to bring the coke…..?
When I engage in community outreach,ministry eventsor am with family and friends, do I take the time to invest in othersto listen and to learn from those whom I seek to engage?  Do I hear and value their perspectives…or do I arrogantly and simplistically seek to apply my own limited perspective and understanding? 
Am I focused on people or mere programs?   
Mother Teresa once said, “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
May the Good Lord bless you and yours as you enjoy the Miracles this season offers – and, as you serve the lives around you, by loving them enough to bring the coke.  Thank you for your ongoing support of both the motel and apartment ministry efforts. 
Gratefully yours,
Stephanie Gillespie
Community Support Manager
620 West Division St.,
Arlington, TX 76011
Character is not developed in quiet and ease, only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, amition inspired and success revealed.” 
Helen Keller