One Touch Makes a World of a Difference
By Kathy Simpson
While we are in the United States visiting churches, we enjoy telling stories from our ministry in Bulgaria. But we are also blessed by stories of God’s work right here. Recently “Jeanne” asked us about the Turkish-speaking minority group called gypsies by most Europeans. Then she shared her own experience.
She had noticed a family of foreigners. The parents seemed distressed, and their little girl was obviously sick. Jeanne felt moved by the Lord to approach them. Although they spoke very little English, she understood that they were from Romania. The parents, son, and three-year-old daughter were traveling to another state, where the husband had been promised a job. Now they had run out of money. No gasoline, no medicine, no food. They were terrified to ask for help, fearing the authorities would take their daughter away because she was so ill.
One side of the girl’s face and neck was painful, swollen, and hot to the touch. One eye was red and weeping. Compelled to help, Jeanne led them to the pharmacy in the grocery store. She explained the situation and asked if anything could be done for the suffering girl. The pharmacist phoned a physician, who came to the store and examined the child. Jeanne knew he was a kind Christian man. He told the family that the problem was a seriously abscessed tooth. He prescribed and purchased medicine to treat the infection and the pain.
The story of the poor Romanian family spread throughout the store. Person after person placed money in Jeanne’s pocket to give to the family. Deli workers prepared hot chicken meals, with plenty of mashed potatoes, which would be easy for the sick girl to eat. Other employees and shoppers gave them food to be used on the journey. The store manager provided a $100 gift card for gasoline.
As the family was leaving, the doctor said to Jeanne, “You’ve run across a band of gypsies. Most people in the world would just ignore them.” Jeanne wondered if the family might be from the same group as the Turkish-speaking folks in Bulgaria. It’s hard to know such details but easy to see that they needed help.
In many ways, they were like the leper in Luke 5. Everyone avoided him—except Jesus. Think about the grocery-store gypsies. Would everyone have avoided them if Jeanne hadn’t responded to the whisper of the Lord? She reached out and touched them, as Jesus touched the leper. Who is God asking you to touch?
Dave and Kathy Simpson are your missionaries serving in Bulgaria.