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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Wallet

I heard a great story at the Biblical World View Summit on Sunday, and I think it should be made into a flash card story for children and told and retold. Until that happens, I just want to blog it. Maybe some CEF person will be cruising around the Internet, and will read it, and say, "Hey, we need to put that on a flash card story!" and it will be told to millions of people around the globe. I'd be glad.

Peter Hammond told the story, and was the chief liver of the story. He is the head of Frontline Fellowship and he and his team go to the frontlines for real. He was in Rwanda helping after the huge massacre of the Tutsis, and he also goes to Sudan, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe--all needy, but dangerous places.

In Rwanda he was impressed with the work of Samaritan's Purse, the group headed by Franklin Graham, and in Sudan he saw a need he thought they could fill. He wrote to them to tell them of it, and a secretary sent a polite letter saying basically, "No." He tried letter number 2, and got a similar response.

Then he heard Franklin Graham was going to be preaching in Cape Town and he got an invitation to a prayer breakfast with Franklin Graham. In a "wise as serpents" move, he rode his motorcycle to the meeting, and entered with his helmet under his arm, knowing full well that Franklin Graham was an avid biker. Sneaky guy!

He got there early, and walked up to Franklin Graham with that helmet, introduced himself, and talked a second or two about biking. Instant rapport!

He told Franklin Graham he knew of a wonderful opportunity in Sudan, in a place called Moruland. Now, Samaritan's Purse had been in Sudan before, and it had been something of a disaster because of the dishonesty and stealing of the people. They had left and were not too excited to go back into a situation like that.

Peter Hammond assured them that Moruland was different. Missionary Kenneth and Eileen Fraser had gone there back in 1920 and started a hospital, a school, and a church. The people were primarily Christians. Peter Hammond told the leaders of Samaritan's Purse, "If you dropped your wallet in the market place, someone would give it back to you."

Samaritan's Purse went to Moruland in Sudan to investigate. They were pretty skeptical about it all, so at one point, one of the Americans (an audacious American, apparently) turned to Peter Hammond and said, "Do you really believe that about the wallet?"

"Yes, I do," Peter reaffirmed.

So as they were passing the market, the man took Peter Hammond's wallet and threw it out the window of the Land Rover!

Peter confesses that he felt sick! Not so much for the contents of his wallet, his ID booklet, etc. but to know so much was at stake! If his wallet was returned, Samaritan's Purse might go ahead and help with the building of a new hospital for the destitute people of Sudan. Thousands of lives might be saved, and people reached for Christ.

If the wallet was not returned, the Samaritan's Purse leaders would know that Peter Hammond had overstated the honesty of the local people, and they were not such a special people. He might also suspect Peter Hammond was not entirely honest! If it was not returned, that hospital might never be built, and thousands of people would continue to be affected by the lack of a hospital.

Peter Hammond spent a miserable night, wondering. The next day the shadow of the wallet overhung everything. It was a long day.

The next evening, a Moru man came with two boys...and a wallet. He found Peter Hammond and told him that the two boys had found that wallet. Peter Hammond was jubilant, and said the looks on the faces of the Samitan's Purse leaders was worth all the agony of suspence.

Those two boys had no idea what was riding on the return of that wallet. But they returned it.

Lord, make me see that my own small choices to do right are so important, and to do right, always.

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