17 May, 2010

Po' Boys

I had lunch with a friend today. He’s a 29-year-old Biostatistics student working toward a PhD degree. He is brilliant and far above my intellectual ability. He’s also young but not quite young enough to be my son. Yet when he told me of his news of marriage I found myself overwhelmed and in tears of joy. For this young man has become like a son to me.

I met him two years ago in a coffee shop on the University of Alabama campus. We met through a mutual friend. Since that time I have seen him periodically and in the last year we’ve met on a weekly basis in an English class. But today our visit was about him and his future.

We grabbed lunch at an outdoor café. Poboys and Cokes, the perfect outdoor meal. As we ate, he shared the story of his engagement, the wedding plans, and his hopes for the future. He talked about his bride and her personality and their road to engagement. Sometime during this hour together I noticed my friend was not eating. He had so much to share.

When the hour passed and we were leaving my PoBoy was half eaten and his had not been touched. We bundled them up to take with us. As we drove off, my friend said, “Will you eat these later or will they spoil? I don’t want to offend you but I want to say something”. Uh, oh I thought. But said, “Of course, go ahead”.

While living here I’ve noticed that Americans waste a lot of food. (Did I mention that my friend is from a small village in China?) I immediately agreed with him wholeheartedly. We certainly do waste a lot of food, I said. Proud to be forward thinking in my concern for world hunger! I was in my American bubble of safety, house beautiful, food-filled, anything-I-want world of thinking.

My friend continued, “When I was growing up we ate mostly corn. We only had meat about once a week. In fact, that’s still the way life is in my village. It’s a very small place, only about 20 to 30 thousand people. Meat is unavailable to most people because it is very expensive. Actually, my father makes the equivalent of about $1 a day and some days less. But my mom works too so they have enough. They are very proud of me being in school in the US. Neither of them ever completed elementary school. But I am encouraged; my mom is now a Believer. I hope one day, my father will trust in Jesus too. But it has been a good year for them.”

This highly educated, brilliant mathematician, this adopted son of mine from China was God’s voice to me today. I felt God saying, "People are hurting; the world is hungry both physically and spiritually. You, my precious daughter, you have been so very blessed to have been born and raised in the United States. You have been so blessed to always have a full stomach, a full experience in a Christian environment. This is My gift to you. I love you.

I ask you now, Will you follow Me into the world? The harvest is ripe and the workers are few."