"No, no, no!" I fussed at the driver while wiping the perspiration from my brow. "This isn't acceptable. You must explain to the mechanic who we are and how important it is that we're on time. The van needs to be fixed in less than an hour, no more!"
Reluctantly the young man walked away at a pace much too slow for my liking. I didn't care how hot it was, couldn't he move more quickly? Didn't he understand the situation's urgency?
Disapproving, I turned to update the others. Without air-conditioning, the temperature inside the van soared as quickly as my frustration. No longer did anyone appear, or smell, freshly showered.
"It doesn't look promising," I began, when suddenly I couldn't believe my eyes. "What do they think they are doing?" I bellowed, while quickly turning around and stomping out of the van.
I marched toward the men at a pace that the young man needed to learn. Sitting under a palm tree, the men sipped tea, laughed, and discussed our van.
Back in those days, I was a super spirit-filled Christian. The problem was, the spirit was self-righteous pride and arrogance. That day I was so spirit-filled that it over-flowed. I even challenged God. After all, he should have known better then to let this happen to me.
I willingly volunteered to sacrifice when others on the leadership team refused. My group would be the first white people to ever visit this region, let alone present the Gospel. The least God could do was provide save travel and comfortable weather for me. My tears didn't seem to persuade God to hurry things along either.
Two hours later the van was ready. Soaking wet, I wanted to turn back. My pride argued that we couldn't show-up so late. Besides, who would still be there? The others voted to at least try, so we did. I sat in the back seat, perspiring and pouting. We traveled another hour on the bumpy, dusty dirt roads of this foreign land.
Finally, approaching the cluster of mud and straw huts, we spotted a block building with music and singing resonating from within. Several men, carrying refreshments, rushed outside to greet us. I was stunned.
"We're three hours late and they're offering us refreshments? They want us to rest? What about the people that have waited all this time in the heat?" My questions tumbled out of my mouth in disbelief.
Smiling, one of the men answered, "They've been singing praises to God and thanking Him that you were coming. They would gladly wait three more hours. So please, honor us and rest first."
Turning to the others, I muttered, "Five minutes tops, we've got equipment to set-up."
Lifting the black cases, we walked inside toward the reserved folding chairs. The congregation, seated on the floor, continued singing.
The band consisted of the local Pastor's three sons. A 13-year old boy played a small keyboard. In the USA, his keyboard sold for less than $20 in a toy store. A 10-year old boy tapped on worn bongos, and a 7-year old boy shook a colorful tambourine.
Faithfully, without formal training, these boys replayed a few songs with toy-like instruments for hours. Smiling, I suddenly realized we were about to astound them with our full-size professional keyboard and sound system. I couldn't wait to see the look on their little faces. A new purpose and mission surged within me... to overwhelm the boys.
Returning to base, quietly I reflected on those boys. Their awestruck eagerness to touch the keyboard ever so reverently had moved me. I focused on the new vision we had given them a glimpse of the great big real world outside of their village. We had challenged them to work hard and study music. Eventually, and they too could play a full-size keyboard, of course with a generator.
Through the years, I've proudly remembered those boys and the impact we had on them. I prayed they worked their way out of their village, following our example, and are somewhere sacrificially serving God.
One day God stopped me in the middle of my love-fest to set me straight. God didn't send me halfway across the world just to teach, but also to learn! It sure took me a long time to grasp the reality of that experience, and its ordained opportunity.
God chose those three young boys to show me HIS ways. They served God, as I would not. Willingly, they did whatever God asked of them, even without the right equipment, training, or circumstances. Ouch. "To obey is better than sacrifice* "
Performance was my song. Obedience was theirs. I've changed my tune to God's kingdom key.
*1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV) "But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."
Married to a minister for 30-yrs, Angela has two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons. She's passionately creative with a versatile portfolio. Out of hurt and pain, Angela writes from her heart and life. She touches others as she gives God the glory. She married a former pastor in '03.