During my last visit to Ghana, West Africa, our purpose was to support the Adullam Orphanage in Obuasi. The property manager of the orphanage, Peter, and I spent a lot of time together traveling through the village purchasing supplies for our team to build a prayer garden and to paint murals in some of the classrooms and bedrooms.
On our second day of shopping, we spent most of our time in the lumber yard and the brick yard. It was starting to get dark and we were on our way back to the orphanage. We were rattling down the road in Peter’s old blue pick-up truck caught up in conversation about our former teaching days and sharing our stories of our experiences. I heard a loud popping noise and I looked over at Peter and noticed panic on his face.
“Peter,” I asked, “what is the problem?”
“Oh, Mommy,” he said, “I have no control of the steering wheel. It will not turn.”
“For heaven’s sake man, use the brakes!” I screamed.
Thankfully, he was able to use the brakes and the truck came to a complete stop. We were resting at a diagonal in the middle of an intersection on a side street, but we had managed to stop without hurting ourselves or anyone else. There was no traffic around. We got out of the car to determine the damage. Peter crawled under the truck to see what had happened. I stood there looking around to make sure a car wasn’t coming.
A man came by walking a goat -yes, I said goat- and he came up beside me and said, “Oh, Madame, you did not park well.”
I almost laughed in his face, but did not want to be a rude American.
I replied, “Oh, Sir, I did not park here, my truck is spoiled” (a common Ghanaian term used for broken).
“Very well,” he said, and off he went with his goat in tow. I’m still trying to understand why he was taking a goat for a walk. Every time I think of that story, I laugh.
As my daughter, Laura, and I were talking this morning, we recalled the story and she wanted to know why the man would possibly think I had parked my car in an intersection. It made me think about how many times we draw our own conclusions and judge others based on what we see instead of finding out the facts first? I know I am guilty of doing it. How about you?
Romans 14:13 says, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Let’s make a commitment to first find out the facts and then see how we can help one another through the circumstances and be a blessing instead of an obstacle.