Burden of Debt

 In Billie, Ministry

I slid the window open, baby on hip wanting to go outside. The oppressive 110 degree heat wafted in, dirt catching in my throat. “What’s going on?” I asked David. I really didn’t have to ask. I already knew. I knew that stooped posture. I’d seen that downcast look before.

Outside Window

“I’ll tell you in a minute” he called back. I slid the window closed again and watched as the girl sat on the well. David came in the door and I met him there. “That’s Maria, the one who’s been visiting church. The one with the baby you gave the clothing to.”

“Yeah” I said nodding, “I figured that was her.”

“She says she’s sick and she’s thinner. Much thinner. Her bones are sticking out.”

“What are her symptoms? I inquired.

“She hasn’t gone to the bathroom in a week and her stomach hurts.” His eyebrows rose. “She wants $20 to go to the hospital.”

We both knew her history. We both knew that her baby had just been taken away because she repeatedly left him to go out at night. “Well, if she’s got an STD it’s her own fault” I plainly stated.

David took the high road. “Maybe someone took advantage of her. You never know.”

Proposing she wait until Wednesday to ask the church for money, David telephoned Mrs. Sim to ask her advice. I hated being seen as a piggy bank. I hated being seen as a rich white person to be overcharged and stolen from, no matter how small the theft. Mrs. Sim was afraid Maria wouldn’t live another two days without medical care. She had already been to one doctor who refused to fully treat her without prepayment.

How did Maria even find us? She had never been to our house. Never mind that. It’s easy to find the white Christians in this city. She was here now and needed urgent medical care. She certainly needed more than I could provide, especially if our suspicions were accurate. At least she knew where to go for help. We couldn’t let her die over $20.

David had to get Mr. B, our guard to accompany him on the drive to the doctor leaving me to get two girls showered, a baby fed, and dinner made. Isn’t that how sin works? We are free to choose our actions but we aren’t free from the consequences of those actions. Our sin always affects other people- even people we don’t know or intend to affect.

A short while later David pulled in the drive with the likely diagnosis. Treatment will take two weeks. David is hopeful that God will use this disease to bring Maria into a right relationship with Himself.

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