New Life Center Zambia - A ministry of the United Methodist Church
Delbert's Moments

Beautiful Feet

March 2, 2006

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"Isaiah 52:7 & Romans 10:15

In 1986, while working on a "fresh water project" in Zaire, Africa, this missionary learned what the Bible means by "beautiful feet". This project was deep in the interior of the country where the needs were much greater than just fresh water. It was going to take weeks to finish the project and I hoped all the time would not be spent just on digging and laying pipe.

In the surrounding area of our project village (Molongo) there were several other villages. Many of the people in these villages had never seen a missionary before, or heard the name of Jesus. It was an ideal time for some good old-fashion evangelism style meetings. So that was exactly what we did. We worked on the project in the morning and in the early afternoon we started holding meetings in a different village each day. Some of these village were 20 to 30 Kilometers apart from each other. Sometimes it would take us hours to get there in our truck over the rugged interior terrain.

However, God was good and the people came out to hear what we were talking about. In some cases it looked like the whole village would come and stand around. The best part was, the message was not only being heard, it was also being received. Every day, as we moved from village to village, men, women and children were asking Jesus into their lives. I am reminded even now how faithful God is to His word. "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1Co.15:58

When we first started the meetings I noticed a "little girl". She caught my eye because she wore a real pretty dress with big red and yellow flowers on it. She also wore a big smile. As we traveled from village to village I also noticed she was always there and sitting on the ground right in front next to a girlfriend. Now remember each village was 20 plus Kilometers from each other. The only way she could get there and then back home was through the night. Not a good idea! That is when the snakes come out. Nevertheless, day after day there she was. Then I started to noticed the girl she was sitting next to. Each day she was there, but with a different girlfriend. She was always sitting up front holding hands real tight with her girlfriend and a big smile was always on her face. So at our last meeting I went over to where she was sitting to talk with her and for the first time I noticed something else about this little girl, she had Polio. She had been sitting on her legs and they never caught my eye until now. Now I could see that they were very deformed and she could not use them to walk on. I asked her, "Why have you been coming to all these meetings and how did you get here?"

What happened next, in many way, has changed my life forever. She looked up at me with her big smile and said, "Missionary, I'm a Christian and I have been coming from village to village to find my girlfriends so I could bring them to hear about Jesus. I would sit next to them and hold their hand real tight so they would not leave." By this time I had gotten a real good look at this precious young girl's legs and feet. Because she had been crawling though the night on her hands and knees, her pretty dress had holes torn all through it. And her little feet, because of the way they had been slapping and scraping on the ground along the path, they were cut open and dripping with blood. As I slowly looked into her face I felt as if I was looking into the face of Jesus Himself. All I could think of were those verses from Isaiah 52 & Romans 10. "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news."

That night on the way back to Molongo, I had the privilege of sitting on the tailgate of the truck with my new little friend. She was sitting next to me real close, holding my hand real tight, and smiling. Then she did something again that touched me deeply. She started to sing that wonderful hymn, "Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart, in my heart; Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart. In my heart - in my heart, Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart." (pg. 402)

I don't know if you have ever been in the presence of the Lord like I was that night, but you should beg God for it. That night, by the light of the moon while singing our song and bouncing around on the tailgate, I prayed, "Lord help me to be like this little missionary sitting next to me..."
--Delbert Groves