Brighten the Corner Where You Are
Can Christians fix the world? NO! Are we obligated to try? YES! This was the law in Israel 3500 years ago. Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ Deuteronomy 27:19 NASV But do not assume there are simple fixes for massive problems on the other side of the world, or even in your own neighborhood.
Funny how I recall things my mom said and did when I was a little kid. Here are some memories of how my mom helped the alien, the orphan, and the widow.
I remember her loading up our jeep with bags of food. She drove to visit a poor family living in an old bus, and took them food even though we had barely enough food to live on. The three year old baby girl’s face was blistered and burned from playing out in the sun all day. Her daddy was an alcoholic. As it turns out this dad was an auto mechanic and kept fixing my mom’s jeep until it could be fixed no more. Then he helped her buy a second hand blue Ford station wagon. “Give, and it shall be given unto you” comes to mind.
My next memory was of a preteen daughter whose mother was being beaten and raped by her drunken husband. Mom did her best to help this poor family, even having the mother and daughter stay at our home to escape.
My best friend in fourth grade was a German girl whose dad died while a soldier serving under Adolf Hitler. The mom married a US soldier and moved to Pennsylvania. Mom helped her find work.
Meanwhile, our home was the host home for guest speakers and singers at our church. One group of African American singers stayed in our home. This was a time when churches were rarely integrated even in the north.
Next Mom housed a Christian refugee couple from Syria. Sadly, the wife gave me a talk while we were out where my mom could not hear. She warned me that Jews were bad people. I was stunned, because even at the age of ten Mom had taught me to respect and care for people all religions and all ethnic groups.
We moved to Philadelphia when I was twelve. I was friends with an Italian family in south Philly, and a girl whose parents had immigrated from Cuba. Once I babysat for a high official from Egypt whose wife had just had a new baby.
In the big city Mom had opportunities to work with foreign students attending university. She hosted two black college students from Nigeria. One of them had gotten involved with the Rosicrucians and became insane. Still Mom reached out to him with the gospel. He returned to sanity, but relapsed when he went back to the Rosicrucian cult. You can read more about this here. https://paulacarnes.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/the-devil-made-me-do-it/ The other young man’s fiancee came to the United States the next spring. I had the honor of being a bridesmaid in their wedding.
When I headed south to college, Mom headed south to Peru, where she taught missionaries’ kids. She was a big hit with the locals who had her over to dinner, and taught her to enjoy a glass of wine now and then. During this time the Shining Path communists came through Ayacucho. Their goal was to take over all of Peru. This involved killing all the Christians, so the missionaries had to flee for their lives. The people living around Ayacucho had to hide out in the fields every night, because the Shining Path came into the villages during the darkness burning houses and killing everyone. Mom stepped up and helped some Peruvians get safely to the United States. You can read more about the Shining Path here. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Shining-Path
Mom was getting old, but her light was still glowing. Her last place of service was Ireland, where she worked six months. She assisted two women who wanted to immigrate to the United States. They stayed with her a few months looking for work.
Mom had a stroke at 75 and had to leave her home to live with her children. When she passed away at age 80 we held the memorial service back at her home church. The service was packed with people sharing all she had meant to them. She had lived a life of humility and grace.
Can we follow in her footsteps? Her son did. Mom told me that my older brother always fought with his younger brother. Then one day older brother asked Jesus to come into his heart. From that day on he never beat up his little brother again. My brother’s life became a gift to the world. I will write more about Jon Masso’s life soon.