Thursday, 9 October 2014

Matthew 25:34-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’     “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’     “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:34-40

I often use these verses during devotions when we have teams of volunteers in Sierra Leone. In my previous life I didn't really do any of those things listed above,  except maybe visiting sick family members in hospital, and only that under protest.  Since I've been in Sierra Leone I am blessed that I regularly have the opportunity to do all of the above,  some of which are much harder than others.......I find visiting prisoners the hardest of all.

I know one young man who was imprisoned for 8 months on suspicion of theft, when I found out where he was I visited him as often as I could. It was a three hour drive to the prison, I was a allowed to see him for just 15 minutes, then it was another three hour drive back home. The conditions in the prison weren't good and the young man was quite sick - he would spend most of our 15 minute visits crying. After he was released from prison he told me that a few days before my first visit he had given up and had tried to take his life, he thought he had no one who cared for him and didn't see the point in going on. I'm so grateful to God for compelling  me to visit and keep visiting.

The young man was eventually released without charge after spending over 8 months in custody. He is planning to start a vocational training program once the Ebola crisis is over.

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