Update: Naomi texted me with very sad news that the girl in the story below, named Konadu, has suddenly passed away. Naomi told me that as far as she knows, the girl knows Jesus. This sad ending makes me even more thankful for Sister Naomi and her eye for the broken.
Naomi Awuni is an incredibly gifted teacher. A YLI Coach since 2006, she has discipled men and women of all ages. She has a masters degree in education and is the headmistress of a primary school in Sunyani. Naomi gravitates to hurting and broken people, and sacrificially pours all that she has into them.
I have met many people over the past five years who left destructive lifestyles and began to follow Christ after experiencing the love of Jesus through Naomi.
One day when she was at school, Naomi noticed that it had been several days since one little girl had been in class. She traveled the long distance to the girl’s village and found the girl with a swollen stomach and in a lot of pain. She talked with the girl’s parents who said that they didn’t have enough money to send her to the hospital, but were going to take her to the local witch doctor. Afraid that the witch doctor would give the girl a natural remedy that could be harmful or even kill her, Naomi asked the parents for permission to take the girl to the hospital.
The parents initially refused. But knowing Naomi is a Christian, they asked her if she would pray for the girl. Naomi gave a sharp response.
“God and the devil cannot work together. If I pray for her, you must not take her to the witch doctor, but let her come with me, so I can take her to a doctor.”
After a long argument, the parents allowed the girl to go with Naomi.
Naomi took the little girl to the doctor and sat by her side. Whenever the girl needed medicine, Naomi reached into her wallet and paid the bill. Each day she paid the hospital fee. This went on for several days and she began to run out of money. Naomi approached other teachers and asked them to contribute. She told me sadly that few would help. Instead, peoples’ response was, “Naomi, what kind of teacher are you? This is not your responsibility”. By the time the girl was discharged and recovering at Naomi’s home, Naomi had spent every bit of her own money.
Yet, there was no regret as she told me this story.
Naomi’s story is that of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus rebuked those who would turn their eyes from suffering people, and not step in personally and sacrificially to help. Naomi reminded me that all we have belongs to God, and He entrusted it to us so we can use it to accomplish his Luke 4:17-18 and Matthew 28:20 missions on earth.