Friday, January 8, 2016
Ministry of 'Helps'
Years ago at a Youth Camp, one of the Pastors taught on the ministry of Helps. It was my first time to hear of this type of ministry and he had to explain for most of us. He was talking about how you do not have to be a pastor of any other prominent person in the church but how you can help the men and women of God to make their work easier. These people that are assistants to pastors, or those that carry their bibles, bring their water, order their food and sometimes even babysit for them are called 'Armour bearers'. The term came from ancient bible times where the armour bearers would literary carry the armour of the King and other prominent people. I am sure present day men and women of God are really grateful for people like that and it is indeed a ministry on its own.
In the last couple of years I have noticed a different kind of armour bearer or Helper if you will. These have not served pastors or any prominent person but ordinary people like you and me. My mum has had lots of friends over the years in the high density area where I grew up. It seems that at every stage she had one very good friend that would not miss a day of passing by and bringing goodies and making her laugh and she in return would do the same. One was called Mai Rori ( mother of Rori) who later passed away. Some ten years back after my father died, my mum all of a sudden had another very good friend. It seemed sudden to me as I was away at boarding school and when I came home there seemed to be a person very familiar with my family and who knew her way around the house even better than me for the first few days of holiday. Mbuya vaMacolm was her name which means grandmother of Malcolm.
I didn't notice the significance of these people in her life until recently but I did realise how she seemed to live for them especially after my father passed away. She got sick and my husband and I, now living away from her in a medium density surburb were discussing bringing her to live with us so that we could monitor her nutrition and taking of medication. We realised that she never wanted to stay for more than a few days and were buffled, till we went to visit and realised that mbuya va Malcolm would come in frequently and would pass through on the way to church to get her and they would go together. Then we understood that besides her having a life of her own in the high density surburb, it kept her alive because she had friends at home and at church. She had responsibilities at church like being treasurer for activities in her section. At our place, she would be alone most of the days because we would be off to work and school early in the morning and the house helper would be too busy for her.
Then mbuya va Malcolm also passed away. She grieved so much and didn't have the energy anymore to go to a little plot where they used to go and plant seasonal plants and plan staying there in their old age. But then an amazing thing happened, I visited and was greeted by mbuya Musakwa, who, you guessed it, knew her way around the kitchen like it was her own. I later learned that even though my mum had a niece living with her, mbuya Musakwa would sometimes bring warmed bath water or cooked pumpkin leaves, a delicacy in the African culture, for my mum every time she cooked them. Every time she cooked anything at her house she thought my mum would like or would be good for her, she would bring it over. At a time of difficulty when my brother got into some trouble with the police, I went home to find my mum was at mbuya Musakwa's house praying, getting comforted and encouraged in the Lord.
Mbuya Musakwa was not in the area when I was growing up. She moved in after I had already been married for a while. How did she single out my mum to befriend, and how could she be such an angel? I often now call all her friends angels because I have seen that they are sent by God. They enrich her life and make difficult days bearable.
I have seen the same thing happen with my mother-in-law. You might think that her friends are older like my mum's but they are young women who come in and cook for her and chat with her. Recently I saw a new one I had not seen before and it clicked when my sister-in-law commented that she did not miss a day of coming in to sit and chat with my mum-in-law. I am amazed at how God can meet the needs of these women so wonderfully.
I once saw a program on Television where in the western countries young volunteers can be paired off with elderly people for purposes exactly like the above. They visit to chat, go grocery shopping, cooking, eating together and general companionship. One of the young volunteers actually stated that it had saved her live to be able to be useful again in life. So my friend don’t despair and be alone, don’t keep searching for a purpose in life when you can just in the meantime be a friend to someone in your neighbourhood who needs it. It doesn’t take much on your part except time and lovingkindness.