Every person has a story…each person you pass in the street, everyone you come in contact with in your neighborhood or in the store has a story full of  both joy and pain. Some people wear the visible scars of their story, others you would never know of the pain that lies behind the mask that covers it. In the fast paced American culture, where time to build deep relationships is scarce; most of us have very few people in our lives that we can truly say we “know” their story.  We are content to  stay on the relational level of a casual conversation, taking care to not go too deep to get into the messiness of someone else’s story, which more than likely would take up more of our time, not to mention might require us to reveal something more about ourselves.  An encounter with a woman walking to get water in a rural Kenyan village caused me to ask the question “What do we miss when we rush from one thing to the next, never to take the time to find out someone’s story?” I was walking down the dusty streets to take a team to see the water source for a community.  (The water source is a small river at the bottom of a very steep hill.)  As I was walking a women came up beside me carrying two empty jerry cans.  We exchanged the typical Kenyan greeting, “Habari” (How are you), Mzuri (fine) and we kept walking.  She did not seem over interested in a conversation with me and it  had been a long day.  It would have been easy to end the conversation there, but something inside me said to dive into her world; unaware that this would lead me to a broken heart. Through the course of our conversation walking to the river, I found out that Nancy was not going to fetch water for herself, but she was making the long, steep trip to the river for the third or forth time that day to get water for a friend who had just lost her son.  Her friend’s son had decided to take his own life and hang himself  a couple days earlier.  The story I had just uncovered stopped me in my tracks.  I asked Nancy if we could help her carry the water to her friends house and our team carried the water up the steep hill, picked up the extra cans at Nancy’s house and went on to her friend’s house.  When we arrived at the house there were at least a hundred people gathered to comfort the family.  We dropped off the water and the Lord gave us an amazing opportunity to minister to the family and share the comfort of the gospel and pray for the entire group assembled there.  The father was so grateful to have us there and asked us to come to the funeral later that week.  God used us in an unexpected and powerful way that day and I could not help but wonder how many opportunities he gives each day that we miss out on because of our unwillingness to go deeper and uncover someone else’s story.  Even the story of a stranger… even if it leads to a broken heart.


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