LETTING GOD LEAD AS WE LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS
I pulled into the grocery store parking lot and saw a young mother on the corner, her baby in one arm and a sign in the other. I felt compelled to buy her and her family some food. As I drove closer, I saw she was standing next to a parked car. Being quick to judge, I thought, “Oh, if that’s her car then she shouldn’t need help with food.” But I knew that was the devil trying to deter me and I needed to leave judgement to God. I was also inspired by a Bridgeway sermon on our call to love others and be the hands and feet of God.
I held on to that truth as I parked my car. I walked over and asked if I could buy her some food, but she didn’t seem to speak much English. I felt emotional, and I think she was confused. I pointed in the direction of the store and told her that I would like to buy her some food. She nodded this time, and quietly said, “Ok.” She balanced her child in one hand and picked up the grapes and seven bottles of water that people had already given her.
We walked across the parking lot together. I learned her name was Larissa and that she spoke Romanian. I told her my name, but wondered how we would communicate in the store with her broken English and my lack of Romanian. But then I recalled that just two weeks ago, a patient of mine from the hospital where I work had used his phone to translate what I was saying into Korean. Isn’t it beautiful how God prepares us to spread love?
I got a grocery cart for Larissa and immediately pulled out my phone. I used Google translate to tell Larissa to fill her cart with the groceries she needed for the week and that I would buy them. We shopped together, walking up and down the aisles, as she pulled diapers, baby food, and canned beans off the shelf and placed them in the cart. I again used Google translate to explain how she could get groceries every week from Bridgeway’s Community Cupboard. As we walked toward the checkout line, I asked if she had a safe way to get home. She nodded. Then I typed into my phone, “God loves you so much.”
Bridgeway is a church that has encouraged and taught me to how to love others through actions, not just words. I am learning I can do immeasurably more when I allow God to lead.