The difference in believing in the Source and showing you believe
Many years ago, I knew a Peace Corps volunteer. She'd been working in a tiny African village that was located three days by horse from the nearest town. That's pretty remote, and it could be a lonely life at times. Let's just say she had few conveniences and one of them was the horse.
She was there to learn from the villagers. Being there would mean encountering very different people and trying to empathize with their situation and do what she had been trained to do: facilitate their success. She was also there to learn about herself as she did so. Few of us can effect long change by our actions. Instead about the best we can hope for is to lighten their burdens, by sacrificing a little of our lives, and then at least in that moment we've done our best.
She was lonely and missed her family, and they missed her, so they traveled many thousands of miles to do so. They admired her sacrifice, and wanted to acknowledge it, by being present with her and praising her efforts.
Before they left they asked what they could bring to best help the people of her host country. They got donations of those items, mostly practical items like medicine, but also brought some luxury items for the people. More on that later. Of course they had limits on what they could carry, so they brought the least amount of their personal belongings, and maximized every space that they could in order to bring as much for the people as possible.
The ride to the village was very far and bumpy, and it was hot and sweaty. They were bounced around for hours and felt like they'd rode in a blender by the time they arrived many hours late.
Part of the ride was on a little mini-bus that traveled on a highly variable schedule. You merely waited for hours for it to come along, perhaps it did when it could, and sat patiently. They got on the bus, the only people of their race on the bus, and yet the people often gave up their seats or scooted over to make room, a jam packed bus containing people and their goats and chickens. After several hours, the bus stopped and greeted another bus, and the drivers chatted and laughed. After inquiring what they said, someone translated, “Your bus is so crazy man, you got white people on there”.
They finally arrived and found that despite the many hours that they were late, that the people of the village, the chief of the people, all of the elders, and the children were waiting to greet them. They'd been practicing songs, dances, and words as a gift for her family. Livestock was sacrificed for a delicious community meal. Special dishes were prepared.
The chief had given his special protection to the Peace Corps volunteer. He understood her sacrifice of her time, talent, and treasure for his people. He made sure that she had whatever he could offer, his own time, talent, and treasure so that her mission would be successful. He treated her with respect and like his own daughter.
In the little village, an older woman, with nothing in common with the Peace Core volunteer, decided to befriend her. She checked in on her every day, helped her with conversing in the unique dialect of the village, assisted with any misunderstandings, taught her about any cultural differences. They became friends, not just acquaintances being polite. The Peace Corps volunteer realized that much of her success had come from the old woman's many contributions every day of her time, talent, and treasure.
Later after giving the chief a tiny present of a useful tool that would help him, and giving the old woman some very tiny luxury items like a mirror compact and lipstick, they went to take the medicines for the clinic to help everyone. The recipients were grateful to be remembered and honored by gifts carried thousands of miles for their benefit.
The visitors went to see the children at the AIDS orphanage. These children had lost their parents to the ravages of the disease. One in four has HIV in this African nation. In many cases, the children had acquired the disease at birth, and it was only a matter of time before they showed signs of the “wasting disease”. The children were bright and loving, normal kids hungry for love and attention, and for the most part sweet and kind to one another. They had few adults to supervise them, constant issues with having enough food, medicine, clothing, and someone to teach them.
The family had brought children's toys, an unheard of luxury as none of the children had anything like a toy in their lives. Some played with a broken piece of a brightly colored glass that they'd worn down by rubbing it on a rock.
The family and volunteers gathered the toys into tiny piles of three or four objects. They were things that most children in America would push away in disdain. They were things that were worth nothing to them, but priceless to the orphans.
The leader of the children told the children they were going to go inside soon and that the family had brought them some toys. One child aged nine, a sweet little boy who was a leader and who helped everyone, “Is there enough for everyone? Is it okay for us to have several? I don't want anyone to not get one. They can have some of mine, if you need them...”.
The children filed into the room quietly. They didn't push. Their eyes were brightly lit up with wonder. They were grateful, their eyes wet at the incredible luxury.
The family wept as they watched the children playing. It was the most normal of things, children playing with toys, but quietly and sharing with each other their new toys, and not arguing one bit. They knew that many of the children would be dead in a matter of years with no way to save them.
This is what it means to love the Source. Actions speak louder than words. Your life may be the only Gospel that they know in their lives.