Sunday, January 13, 2008


It's technically Monday morning, but not by much. I'll call this Sunday night in Argentina.

My mind is filled with thoughts and images and sounds and smells from this day. There are many, many stories. Of all of them, though, the one which has taken up residence in my mind as I prepare for sleep is the story Yolanda told to the children of Samuel being called by God. I speak much English, little Spanish. Yolanda speaks much Spanish, little English. So I cannot tell you with confidence what she said, but I can tell you what I realized as she spoke.

Samuel was a little boy in the Bible who had been committed to God by his mother even before he was born. He was raised in the temple, serving God under the direction of Eli. But he did not actually know God. One night, though, God called to him, "Samuel! Samuel!" The kid didn't understand, and went to Eli, thinking it was Eli who had called. Eli probably didn't enjoy being awakened in the middle of the night, and may not have been firing on all cylinders, but after a bit of repetition he realized what was happening, and instructed Samuel to respond, "Speak, for your servant is listening" (I Samuel 1-3).

What struck me was not (as far as I know) what Yolanda said about this event. What I saw was the children listening. God has been calling to them, but they haven't necessarily recognized it as the voice of God. We are not here to push people to Jesus, but rather to introduce them to the One who has been there all along, the One who has been calling to them in many places and in many ways, and to help them enter and grow in relationship with God.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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