Monday, March 31, 2014

The Bread of Life, Literally

I have been cleaning out my file cabinet the past few months and came across this story. I had it cut out of a magazine with no title, no author, and no clue as to where exactly it came from -- so I cannot pass on the credit... But, it is so powerful!

Here in Peru we're surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in the world. Take Mount Huascaran, for example. At 22,205 feet above sea level, it's quite a challenge to climb! While the village where our family lives is at a much lower elevation, getting around on foot here is still no walk in the park.

That's what amazes me about Emilio. As a blind villager without a Seeing Eye dog or anyone to lead him, he has memorized the rocky path with its twists and turns, steps and bad bumps, and is able to travel from his house to our translation center. The other thing that amazes me about Emilio is his powerful love for Jesus and his desire to serve others, in spite of the challenges blindness brings. Whenever he visits, he always asks if there is any work he can help us with.

One day, Emilio asked if we could help him purchase a shortwave radio, so he would be able to listen to the radio program our co-translators produce in Quechua, and some other Christian broadcasts. Since he is blind and can't read Braille, the programs are the only way he can regularly hear the Scriptures. The radio he'd found only cost twelve dollars, which seemed quite reasonable. I told him I'd see what we could do.

That night, we visited Emilio's house to give him the money he needed. Emilio lives alone in his little dirt-floored, one-room house. Inside, it reminds me of my grandma's old barn, with many belongings hanging from rafters, and other items scattered around the floor. He appears so poor materially, yet he's so rich in spirit. It was a joy to see his reaction to the radio. He was thrilled by it and told us about the preachers he liked to listen to, and how God had been working in his life.

During the course of our conversation, I asked, "How do you get your food?" He confidently replied, "Read John 6:35!" I turned there in his Bible, which he keeps in a plastic bag, and which he can no longer read for himself. I had to choke back tears as I began to read, "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.'"