Tanya has a story to tell…
I have a friend named Kristina. She is one of my ‘sisters’ at the Roma church. She and her husband (Milan) are a hard-working Roma couple, full of life and in love with each other and the Lord. They both work hard to support their family, barely make ends meet most months, and often have more than one family member living with them in their small apartment.
Earlier this summer, a spot was found on Kristina’s brain. In order to figure out what it was, they needed to do an MRI (spoiler alert: it was just a cyst, and won’t have to be removed). Now, I’ve never had a MRI, but I’ve heard the closed ones are pretty tough. Kristina went for the first time to the MRI center and wasn’t able to do it – she had a little bit of a ‘freak out’ and they had to reschedule. (I know she’s not the first one this has happened to!) The nurse kindly told her that there was a pill she could take that would help the process go better. The only problem with this pill is that it was going to be 100 Euros (a little more than $100). If 100 Euros seems like a lot to you, you can imagine how much this was for this hard-working couple.
She went home and told her husband, and he got right to work. But, not the kind of work that you might imagine. While most of us would have figured out how we might work a few extra hours to earn this money, or maybe ask a friend or family member for a loan, Milan chose a different path. He went and found some cardboard boxes and built his dear wife a MRI machine right there in their small apartment. Every day, Kristina got into this homemade contraption, Milan right by her side, holding her hand. The first day she lasted 5 minutes, the next a few minutes longer, and on and on. Once she reached 30 minutes, they were ready to make the appointment for the real thing. She went in, declined the pill, and Milan stood right by her side. She held on to his pants for dear life. When the noise of the machine got louder, she sang praise choruses at the top of her lungs.
Kristina did it. More precisely, Kristina and God and her husband did it. Now, if I had heard about this before she went back in, I might have been tempted to jump in and help. I might have been tempted to ‘solve’ the situation for her. But, she would have missed the opportunity to see God at work. She would have missed the opportunity to grow with her husband.
In missions, all too quickly we want to rush in and save. We think we have all the answers. And sometimes we can help with our money. But, only sometimes. Sometimes, we get to sit back and watch people figure out what their own assets are, and use them. Sometimes we get to watch God work in miraculous ways. Sometimes, my ‘sisters’ teach me that money is only a shortcut to happiness. May we learn to step back and watch God at work. May we learn not to rush in with our ‘solutions’ too quickly. May we all learn from my dear sister Kristina.