WHEELCHAIR

As I sat with the 3 Mayan brothers/preachers at an outdoor café in a plaza in Tizimin, Mexico, I did not expect my heart to be broken in just a few minutes.

As we talked and laughed while enjoying our coca-colas, a bus pulled up across the street. Then I saw it, a woman stepped off with what looked at first like a heavy package on her back. It wasn’t! It was a young man who had a severe disability and obviously had to be carried everywhere. I asked the preachers if they knew who they were. They said that the mother always comes to the bus stop on certain days and then carries her son to a corner where they beg. Then she carries him back to the stop for a long ride to a small Mayan village outside the city.

I was immediately deeply touched and despite myself began to cry. It was strangely a mixture of grief and pity and even some disbelief. I felt the Mayan churches would see such a profound need and try to help them. After composing myself I asked the preachers if Northwest and the brethren there could buy the family a wheelchair. They agreed to make sure the family got it and shortly thereafter the always kind and generous Christians at Northwest sent the funds.

The chair was purchased and the mother no longer had to carry her son everywhere.

Later when I analyzed my feelings it became clear that my tears and the preachers seeming unconcern were due to the idea that we must take care of our brethren first and foremost. We had read the verse that says, “…do good to all people, ESPECIALLY to those who belong to the family of believers.” ( Gal 6:10) And the one that reads “…do not forget to do good and share with others…” ( Heb 13:16) We had probably emphasized the brethren, to the extent of neglecting the ALL people. I also recognized my oblivious and selfsatisfied attitude and needed Christ to break my heart.

I have always wished I could have been there to see the faces of the mother and son and watch the hope and joy they were experiencing. The Mayan preacher told me how grateful and happy they were and we all experienced a great spiritual growth in Christ. Who would think that a wheelchair, albeit a primitive one, could do so much?

—-Jim Bailey