“We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted. We are to minister to the despairing, and to inspire hope in the hopeless. The love of Christ, manifested in unselfish ministry, will be more effective in reforming the evildoer than will the sword or the court of justice. These are necessary to strike terror to the lawbreaker, but the loving missionary can do more than this. Often the heart that hardens under reproof will melt under the love of Christ. “
MH 106.2; MC.73.3
Seize every opportunity to contribute to the happiness of those around you, sharing with them your affection. Words of kindness, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would to many a struggling, lonely one be as a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of cheer, an act of kindness, would go far to lighten the burdens that are resting heavily upon weary shoulders. It is in unselfish ministry that true happiness is found. And every word and deed of such service is recorded in the books of heaven as done for Christ. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,” He declares, “ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40.
7T 49.4; 7TI.51.1
This story is about what Godly love and compassion can do in ones life. Some of you may remember Hilda, our “dump girl”. Many years ago, when Joe and I first moved to Honduras, we had to make a weekly drive to the county dump to discard our trash from the outpost.
On one of our trips there we noticed a group of children rummaging through the trash. At first, we thought they were simply playing games with each other, but after closer observation, we realized that those poor children were actually rummaging through the trash looking for food to eat and clothes to wear.
Our hearts were broken by this miserable sight… little children sifting through trash, fighting off dogs and buzzards just to find something to eat.
One young girl stood out above the rest of the children; it was Hilda. She was off by herself, looking through the trash piles. She was battered and dressed very ragged. She was skinny, and her stomach was distended… obvious
signs of malnutrition.
We stopped our truck, and decided to go over and talk to her. She told us that she lived close by with her mother, and that she comes to the dump everyday, looking for food and things she and her mother can use for their home. From that moment on, we knew that God had brought us there to the dump, at just that moment, in order to help someone. We decided to make it our purpose to befriend and help this young girl.
M.M.M. made it it’s mission to go there to the dump several times a week, not only to help Hilda, but other young children whose daily routine was to rummage through trash in order to find something to eat. In fact some of you who visited us in those early years might remember going with us to the dump to visit the children and families that lived nearby.
After getting to know Hilda better, and gaining her confidence in us, we asked her if we could visit her home. She eagerly hopped in the back of our truck, and directed us to a modest tiny house, built for them by donations given to the town of Santa Barbara for the assistance of the poor.
Meeting with Hilda’s mother, we saw that she was a fine lady, struggling to provide for her children. She was simply a victim of severe poverty. In spite of her plight, she was very kind and generous; offering us food and drink. She did not ask for anything from us… which is untypical of one living in extreme poverty.
After our visit with Hilda and her mother, we decided to adopt Hilda as our missionary daughter. Our primary goal was to see that she did not have to go to the dump ever again in search for food for herself and her mother. Our visits to minister to the “dump people”, as we dearly called them, were truly a joy. They eagerly waited for us, ready for whatever we were going to share with them. We brought them clothes, washed their hair, gave them vitamin C drinks, sang to them, etc.
For several years, we would routinely visit Hilda, either at her home, or at the dump. By this time, Hilda felt very comfortable with us, and her mother trusted us with her, so we decided to invite Hilda to come and visit the clinic. At first, she was nervous and a bit hesitant, but she agreed to come up later that week. Sure enough, one morning I looked and saw Hilda standing on our front porch. What a pleasant surprise.
It just so happened that Joe was starting a medical missionary training class, and he asked her if she liked medical work. She eagerly affirmed that she did, and Joe invited her to join the class. Needless to say, she was excited, but I could tell that she felt “out of place”, probably feeling that she was far out of her element. But, we all made her feel comfortable and a part of the class.
Hilda was a very smart girl. She always was first to volunteer to do treatments for patients who came to the clinic. Over time, Hilda learned basic treatments, like how to administer I.V.’s, minor surgery, wound care, and many other types of medical procedures.
It was time for Hilda to consider continuing her education. I went to visit with Hilda’s mother, and asked if we could send Hilda to a Christian school, Reach International. The mother was so overwhelmed, that all she could do was cry. Beginning the following school session, Hilda was enrolled as a student in Reach International. All of the training that Hilda received, gave her a firm foundation to become a confident, hard working, self-sufficient young lady.
Today, Hilda is a grown woman and mother, living and working in Mexico. But Hilda never forgot what we did for her. We had lost touch with her for many years. But two months ago, I received an e-mail from Hilda saying that she had been trying to contact us, wanting to know how we were, and to tell us that she wanted to come see us.
She came to see me at the restaurant, and we just hugged and cried; it was so good to see her. We never know the far reaching or long-range effects of our actions, only eternity will tell.
What a joy it will be, to be able to meet in heaven, those that here on earth God permitted us to minister to and reveal His love. “What rejoicing there will be as these redeemed ones meet and greet those who have had a burden in their behalf!”
RH Jan 5, 1905
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