A Sweet Savor

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After hiking for hours, the family arrived at the jungle clinic for care. Even after treatment, the mother was not strong enough to hike back to their region. So Mumul, a church member and helper at our jungle health center, was asked if she would accommodate the family until they could return. Being warm-hearted and generous, Mumul greatly enjoyed opening her home to them. However, she became sad as, one by one, each member of the family came down with the same flu as the mother.

Mumul gently took care of each one but grew frustrated at their reluctance to follow the health guidance she offered: take the medicine, drink water or eat. She was heartbroken to watch one little girl grow skinnier and skinnier each day because she would only eat a spoonful of rice soup. Eventually, they all got well and went home, and Mumul missed their companionship.

Not too long afterward, her husband and children grew sick, one after the other. She tried to help them as she had tried to help the other family.

“Daughter, please take this water. You need to hydrate yourself.”

“I don’t want it. It is bitter.”

“Please, honey, eat this rice soup to regain strength.”

“I don’t want it. It tastes terrible.”

“Please, son, try and stand up so you don’t lose all strength in your legs.”

“I don’t want to. My legs hurt.”

So the conversations went as Mumul tried caring for her sick family, all splayed out in one room on the bamboo floor. Afraid she would get sick, she slept apart from them but eventually succumbed to the illness.

“Mama, please drink this water. You know you need to drink to get well.”

“I don’t want it. It is bitter.”

“Mama, please eat this rice so you can regain strength.”

“I don’t want it. It tastes terrible.”

“Please, mama, try and stand up so you don’t lose all strength in your legs.”

“I can’t. My legs hurt too bad.”

“Mama, why are you being so stubborn? You firmly told us everything we needed to do to get well, but you won’t do it when you are sick.”

As Mumul told this story, I chuckled. It sounds so like us. When we engage ourselves in other people’s lives, it is easy to be frustrated when they won’t do what we expect they should want to do to help themselves. We are only trying to help, right? But how important it is to immerse ourselves in their lives and culture—to experience their experience—until we find ourselves a lot less judgmental.

Jesus came and took on our sickness (sin) so we could see how to live. Just as Mumul’s perspective on her sick friends and family changed once she experienced the same sickness, we can become considerably less judgmental when we have gone through a similar experience as others. What is it like to live in their bamboo huts day by day, to fetch water as they do, to wonder each day what you will find to eat, to hike mile after mile to reach healthcare when you feel sick, and to care for another family under those conditions?

I admire Mumul’s heart for people. This love and compassion comes from knowing Jesus, and it is a sweet savor to Him.

Author’s note:
Mumul’s children have benefited from a Christian education provided by our mission schools. Like so many others, Mumul scraped together what she could to keep her children fed and clothed, but she often struggled to provide the school materials her children needed. In a new joint endeavor with Child Impact International (CII), our mission project, through AFM, will be able to provide education to other students in Kindergarten through grade 5 whose families are struggling. If you would like to help one of these students receive a hot meal, school and hygiene supplies, a creative learning environment, and an opportunity to learn more about Jesus, please call Child Impact International (CII) at 423-910-0667.

Additionally, if you would like to provide financial assistance to students in grades 6-12 and college, please go to afmonline.org/give/special-projects and select the Palawano Student Scholarship Fund.

Adventist mission schools make a tremendous difference now and for eternity. Your generous sponsorship impacts students for life, shaping them as lights to their communities and the world.