Another posting from Carrie:
I had an English teacher in high school who used to say, “If it happens once, it is interesting, if it happens twice, it is a coincidence, if it happens three times it is a paper topic! (or, in this case, a blog entry). Over the last week or so the theme developing around here has been about Zaccheus, The Wee Little Man..
Katie recently learned the song “Zaccheus is a wee little man.” She has been singing it enthusiastically for all our visitors, for her dolls, in the tub. She has made up hand motions and I’m sure a ballet is in the works. She is very into this story of this mean little man and how Jesus seemed to really like him.
So, I am not sure if it was the Holy Spirit, or Katie’s singing that brought the story of Zaccheus to Ash’s mind as he began preparing for the second day Coach’s Conference that was held here in Kumasi this weekend. Ash shared how Jesus, walking along with Father, was drawn this man, forever known for two things, being short and mean (Ok, am I the only one who pictures Danny Devito in Taxi?), to eat with that day. Reflecting God’s purpose for the little guy, Jesus loved this man and his life was changed. Of course Jesus was heavily criticized for it. It is the same position many of our coaches face as they befriend the not so “desirable” folks in their communities.
Naomi, one of our coaches and the self-proclaimed “Queen Mother” of YLI (she was the first female coach.), shared the story of her own Zaccheus. Recently her daughter was stabbed by a boy in her town of Sunyani who is known for being angry, violent and hard. As any mother would, Naomi was on a mission to bring this boy to justice. She planned to visit the police station to report the incident but on her way stopped by the boy’s home to see if he could be found. He was not there, but what she saw at the home began to change her thinking. In her words, the home was “not fine.” It was then that she realized that it would do nothing for him to be captured by the police. She stated, “I realized I needed to capture him for Jesus.” Naomi’s plans changed. She didn’t travel to the police station. She didn’t report the crime. She called for the boy to visit her at the school where she teaches. He came, ready for a fight and prepared to do what was needed to defend himself. As Naomi poured love on this young man, sharing with him the truth of Jesus, she was shocked to see his tough exterior melt. Tears fell from eyes that no one believed could cry as he accepted the love and forgiveness of Jesus, and Naomi and her family.
This young Zaccheus asked forgiveness from Naomi’s daughter. Naomi says that now all her daughter’s wounds have been healed. And this young boy is now a regular fixture at Naomi’s home. He is even helping with the cooking! Naomi, like Jesus, is receiving quite a bit of criticism from her church and community. They say that in time his true colors will again be seen. Most people would rather see judgment than redemption. But Naomi laughs at these criticisms. Not only have her daughter’s wounds healed, but so have the wounds of this young man.
There is more from the conference to be posted (and some pictures too). Thanks for being there for us!