This blog, just posted to the Partners Relief & Development blog by one of our staff members, puts into narrative form what our core ethos is all about.
I missed him the first time, on the railway platform at Brahmanbaria in Bangladesh. A kid of about 12, dragging himself along on his stomach, legs so badly twisted back up behind him that his feet touched his lower spine. He tugged at my trouser leg and I looked down in pity but with little respect or understanding. I asked a local staff member “What do we do in these kinds of situations.” “Give him a couple of Taka” was the reply. I reached into my pocket and ‘generously’ gave the kid 10 whole Taka. About 50 cents. His eyes and his incomprehensible words spoke gratitude. I felt sick inside though, and the Spirit gently tapped my shoulder “If you’d sat down and looked him in the eye you would have seen and talked with Jesus” He said. I’d missed my chance.
God is gracious. A couple of days ago and some 20 years later, I was in the concentration camps of Rakine (Arakan) State in Burma (Myanmar). We’d been visiting for a couple of days as I looked at what my friends in Partners Relief & Development had been up to, providing food, shelter, medicine and compassion to some very desperate people. We’d stopped to get a pair of crutches remodeled at a motorbike repair shop – as you do. This is for a kid whose leg was broken in a riot, the ends of the bones sticking out. Our friends had got him to a hospital where staff, doing nothing about the break at all, had sown up the flesh in the most careless, dismissive way.
All of that is another story for another time, but here we are in a bike repair tin shed and I see this kid come to watch. He moves by using his arms as crutches and his butt as a third leg. He’s 10, his legs are folded beneath him and clearly he is unable to straighten them. I’m not going to miss a second chance to meet Jesus! I get down and sit in the dirt, cross my legs as best a stiff overweight old man can, and look at this child.
Someone rushes over with a piece of flat polystyrene for me to sit on. A chair is bought. I get them to put the child on the chair and I hold his feet. We can get his legs to about 90 degrees before the pain is too obvious. I have no language and our translator is gone – we were on our way home – but with signs we figure out he’s been like this since about 2 or 3. I hold his knees, I pray silently pleading with God for healing and some insight, I look in his face and say “God loves you” and I get a glorious smile back. I do not give money but instead I look intently at his face. I don’t want to forget what Jesus looks like. We part with a handshake and my promise to do something to help.
I need to find an orthopaedic surgeon (I think) who wants to meet Jesus in a concentration camp in Burma. If you’re a medical person and can put me right in what I think I need that would be fine too. But I want to introduce you to my little friends. Two of them at least. One of them looks very like I imagine Jesus to look. If you’re that person please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by a Partners relief team leader .