I started my career as a teacher in Ethiopia. I worked at Akaki Lesperance Children Aid Organization until I left to the Philippines. The institution was an orphanage and a boarding school. Aside from teaching, I used to volunteer as a driver since I had a license to drive medium-duty vehicles.
On one occasion, I had to drive the treasurer to the capital, Addis Ababa, because there was no driver on campus. I had one of my students as my assistant. On our way back, we ran out of gas. The most practical solution was to send my student to the nearest gas station to buy gas good enough to drive to the gas station. I was afraid that he might confuse diesel and gasoline. I cautioned him, "Make sure you buy diesel, not gasoline." Adding gasoline to a diesel engine can cause damage.
When we were about to add the gas my student bought, two street children came running and offered to help. It is only later that I realized why they wanted to help. They were addicted to inhalants, petrol sniffing. One of them sniffed the gas and said, “This is not diesel, this is benzene (gasoline).” He knew what type of fuel the truck needed. The addicted street children saved our vehicle.
The norm is to associate street children with the problem rather than the solution. Our default mentality is to think they are there only to ask for help, not to offer support. It was regrettable to see them live in that condition, but it was heartwarming to be saved by them. I learned some important spiritual lessons.
You never know who is going to be your help. Respect and regard everyone who crosses your way. The Bible tells stories of strangers and castaways serving God's purpose. Naaman, the commander of Syrian army, suffered from leprosy and he was in desperate need of help. It was an Israelite slave girl serving in his household who suggested that he would be healed if he goes to Elisha the prophet of God (2 Kings 5). It turned out she was right. Naaman was miraculously healed after finally following the instruction Elisha gave him to wash himself seven times in river Jordan.
Poverty doesn’t limit someone’s ability to be a blessing to others. Christ's disciples didn't have gold or silver to give to those in need but they were channels of priceless blessings. They brought healing to those who were afflicted. Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk! ” (Acts 3:6, CSB). Apostle Paul affirms it in his message to the Corinthians that a messenger of God may be "poor, yet making many rich" (2 Corinthians 6:10, BSB). True richness to receive the priceless gift of redemption.
If you are wondering what happened next, I sold the gasoline to a taxi driver who stopped to drop a passenger. My confused student didn’t repeat his mistake the second time I sent him.
Has God ever blessed you though strangers? What did you learn from your experience?
In what ways do you wish to be a blessing to others? Write your prayer.