I met a little boy at church on our last day in Uganda. We danced together to the music that preceded the service and then sat down to listen to a concert. I put my arm around this little boy and he sat as close to me as possible. After a while, in the spirit of our previous dancing fun, I removed my arm so that I could clap to the music, hoping he’d join me. Instead, he immediately grabbed my hand and wrapped my arm around him again. This happened several times, until I finally stopped trying to move my arm. This sweet little boy just wanted someone to hold him, to show him love, to make a connection with him. I had to leave that church service early to catch my flight back home, but before I left I made sure that that little boy knew that I loved him and that God loved him – the hands of Jesus reaching down to hug one of “the least of these.”
Being the hands and feet of Jesus does not stop now that I’m back from Uganda, however. There are still people in need, both around the world and in my own town. James 2:14-17 says, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
I am in the process of learning how God wants me to serve in Charlottesville, but He is already using me to help internationally by sponsoring a child. My sponsorship pays for Karen’s care at a Christian home for girls. She is able to go to school (schooling is not free where she lives); is taught life skills, such as cooking and paying bills; and, most importantly, is raised to love God and serve Him. But that’s only the smallest of things I can do. There is so much more I can do! I can tell people what I saw in Africa and encourage them to use their own gifts to meet needs. I can sponsor more children. I can encourage and support missionaries who are in the country on a long-term basis. I can partner with the local church to reach out in making disciples and serving the community. Helen Keller once said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
I believe the message God wanted to teach me in Africa was that we are all called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Mt. 9:37). I saw the enormity of the world’s needs during my time in Uganda. The harvest truly is plentiful. But God is using His followers to make a difference. To meet people in their neediness and bring them healing. To love the unlovely and even the unlovable. To provide shoes for naked feet, rice for hungry stomachs, or friendship for lonely widows. Being the hands and feet of Jesus will look different for every person, but we can all do something.
Written by Katherine