Originally uploaded by justinlandis.
this guy is a friend we met last time we were here. his name is bernard and he's one of the humblest people i've ever met. he serves the group unflinchingly and invisibly. if something happens, it's probably because bernard did it.

bernard was an orphan. he's in his early 20's and now lives with dithan and janet, a couple of the pastors for gospel messengers church. he has very little education and doesn't really speak english.

we took him shopping for the day and bought some clothes for him. he was so stoked. he wore the shoes on Sunday and they still look new. thanks to the generosity of our friends and family in the states, we were also able to send him to driving school. when dithan told him last night, i was hoping that he could have done it a little more discreetly. it feels strange to have someone be so thankful. bernard was glowing like a black light and so excited. for us it's a bit of money an a warm fuzzy feeling for helping someone. for bernard, it's opportunity to be something - to be someone. as a driver he will have respect from his peers that he's never felt. as a driver he will have some way to make a living and contribute to his family.

i think it's so true that the most significant thing we can offer here isn't money or even hope. for the christians, they already have hope in christ and are content with their lives. what we can bring is opportunity. the opportunity to help oneself and in turn help others. the whole system is a conduit through which good things are passed. i don't receive something for my own sake, but for the sake of my brothers and sisters who are in need. it's an amazing culture that way. i feel blessed to be a part of it for a while.


Forever in Blue Jeans said...

Praying for you guys. After reading your blog, I felt like I was right there with you except it only took me 30 seconds to get my hair wet today.

Jill Exner said...

Justin-Tell Bernard he could be a model with this picture. He looks very self confident and relaxed.