They were hard to resist. Not because they were dark skinned and beautiful. They. were. re.lent.less! We were in Vietnam doing a Bible drop/prayer walk/tourist thing and there were kids everywhere! Most of them were selling maps of the city and postcards. A few were begging. Geez, how many postcards can a girl buy? Obviously a lot.
One night on this trip some of my team was walking around the city blowing time, er, prayer walking, until we were supposed to meet for dinner. (Which we were stoked about. I'm hungry just remembering.) Some kids found us and then the little hands came out. Soon this crowd had gathered and was wanting answers. I started rummaging through my neck wallet for some small bills. A lot of people say not to give to the beggars. I don't feel good about that. Just saying. I soon realize that I have nothing in my wallet. Not a thing. Try explaining that to a mob of beggars.
So the kids are striking out. Then one of the taller people in the crowd thrust a baby into the arms of my friend. We were feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point and started to leave. My friend tried to give the baby back but the girl didn't want to take her. What was this? A desperate young mother? A big sister? Did they really want us to take her? After several attempts, the baby was back with her family but we were really shook up. Did they really want us to keep the baby? How desperate do you have to be to give your baby away to complete strangers?
Yes there were tears all the way back to the restaurant. How could I enjoy my fried rice now. I wish I had just packed up my portion of the meal and shared it with someone who actually needed it. But I didn't have the guts.
Helpless. That is how I felt. What could I do to change any part of that situation? Little me.
That night I read in Isaiah 58:10,
"if you feed those who are hungry
and take care of the needs of those who are troubled,
then your light will shine in the darkness,
and you will be bright like sunshine at noon."
I was still lost. What is my part? Seriously, really, what can I do, God?
And God didn't say a whole lot more.