Today Randall spoke about gifts, as in 1 Corinthians 12. I know I have some gifts in this sense although it is hard to be sure and to know if it is just me thinking this or if others see in me what I think I recognize.
What he said about helping gifts made me think back to the last Sunday we were at Karawa. I had attended the French service early and thought I might make it to the Lingala service after but got started chatting with some people who, one after the other, came by to see me and so I didn’t make it.
Tekpa was on guard duty at the guest house that morning. There was a problem with the water the whole time we were at Karawa. Something was wrong with the pump and it could only be turned on for short periods of time. So the hospital was the top of the line as far as priority for water went. We, at the guest house paid women to haul it for us in big basins on their heads. While everyone was at church that Sunday morning, the water in one of the lines to the houses was turned on. Kids found out pretty quickly just where it was running and went up to one of the houses where everyone was away at church, turned the water on to fill their pails and bucket and left the tap running. So Tekpa caught wind of this and was sent to guard the taps.
After visiting with a series of people and being too late to go up to the Lingala service, I decided to take a walk around the mission. When I was returning to the guest house, I met Florence coming back from church. Tekpa was sitting in their back yard with a pail. She asked him what was happening. He had confiscated some child’s pail and was holding it till they came back to claim it. Then he would have them clean up some of the mess they made behind the house as the water turned the yard into mud.
Florence asked me if I had noticed the flowers in church. This is Tekpa’s job she told me. He has done it for years. At one time one of the pastors had asked him if he could do this little job for the church. Tekpa explained that he really didn’t know anything about flowers or making them look nice. “But,” he told the pastor, “If you pray for me that God will give me that gift, I will do it.” And so the pastor prayed for him and he has faithfully put his gift to use since then. Now Tekpa is not endowed with great intelligence and has a lowly menial job being the yard keeper at the guest house. He does his job with a huge smile on his face. He is not ordinary. He has that sort of radiance that comes from being infected with the love of God. And when his regular job is done he places flowers in the church.