When Old People Make Young People Cry

I was re-telling some Zimbabwe stories today at the girls’ school. There are some funny ones and some sad ones. And one that really sticks out to me is when we went to the old folks home.

This place was even worse than other places we had seen. It was old people just sitting around waiting to die. No family, no provision, with literally a threadbare existence. If they had shoes, they were
busted open because they had worn out or were the wrong size to begin with. If they had clothes there were holes and tears in their shirts and pants.

We took a picture of their “pantry.” It had oil and meal to make sudza.  That was it.

Then sweet Laura Jones piped up and said, “What if we wash their feet and pray for them. Can we do that??”  She looked like an angel when she asked that.

My internal response was No Way. But my external response was a stammered, “Yes–Yes–we–can–”

And we did.  Here we were young, polished Americans on our knees with our slick American water bottles pouring out purified water on these dry, cracked black feet.

Then came the dull murmur as we prayed in our language over a people who did not understand a word we were saying. Yet we all believed that God had no problem with our dialect and accent.

I am not sure who was changed more. Us or them. I don’t think I have ever felt more like Jesus than when we washed those old, weak, dirty feet.

I am so glad that Jesus never stammered or hesitated to wash my feet. I am so glad that He is pleased to touch me and pray for me.

Father, I pray even now that the old folks in Zim and the team here are reminded about the crazy day that You showed up in the oddest way.

“Isn’t that a strange way to save the world. . .” Amen.

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