I stopped next door with a package for Dorothy, one of our local church members. The afternoon sun shone bright that day and had driven her from the porch where she often sits to the hard-packed dirt beside the house. She sat on a small stool reading 2 Chronicles 18. She quickly pulled up another stool for me, and we continued reading the story together. “Do you understand what we just read?” I asked.
“No, I don’t really understand it.” We paused for a few minutes to discuss the story of the kings of Israel and Judah.
Three new neighbors came over and joined us. We set aside our Bible study and chatted with them. These ladies were middle school teachers from distant provinces and were here in the capital to get some continuing education and improve their teaching skills during their break between school years. They were very curious about me. There are quite a few foreigners in the country, and they had met some, but not very many who both spoke and read their language. They began questioning me to find out more about this foreigner who was to be their neighbor for the next two months. “How long have you lived here?” “Do you like the country?” “What kinds of food do you eat?” “Do you eat the local food?” The questions came in such rapid succession it was hard to keep up.
Then the questions turned from my general thoughts about the country to me personally. “Are you married?”
“Yes,” I answered.
Dorothy interjected with a story of how my husband and I were both working here in the city and had met here and even had a local engagement ceremony before going to the States for our wedding so our families could participate.
“How many children do you have?” The questioning continued.
“None yet, but I am pregnant. We will have our first child in a few months.”
“Really? How old are you?”
“Thirty-two,” I answered.
“That’s really old to be just having your first child!”
Before I could gather my thoughts for a response, Dorothy jumped in. “They just got married a year ago. They waited until they were married to have children. Besides, women have babies when they are much older than 32! God promised Sarai that she would have a son, and she was so old she couldn’t have children anymore. She didn’t think it was possible for her to have a child. Perhaps God meant that her husband’s son by a maid would count. But no, God said she would have her own son even though she was getting close to 100 years old. God fulfilled His promise and gave her a son even though she was way too old to have children. So you see, Joelle isn’t too old to have children. If God could give Sarai a son, He can give her a child, too.”
“Where is that story from?” The ladies asked.
“It is in the Bible.”
I marveled as I listened to Dorothy’s rendition of a Bible story I have heard since I was a child. Dorothy, however, has been a Christian for only the last six years. At first she depended on others to read the Bible to her or tell her the stories. Now she is learning to read and spends a lot of time in her Bible. Since I gave her my iPod, she has also been spending hours listening to the audible Bible. Her confidence and knowledge of the basic Bible stories has grown, and she eagerly shares what she knows with those around her.
Please pray for Dorothy as she continues to learn more about God and shares what she learns.