05 Nov Day 28

The Burning Bus

By Philip Smith


You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13



Gang warfare had erupted in the city. Rival gang members raided each other’s territory, burning and looting everything in their path regardless of who it belonged to. The Hope bus, which happened to be parked downtown, was set ablaze by one of these roving bands of ruffians. When the driver came back to pick it up, nothing remained but a burned-out shell.  Calling Pastor Derli to tell him what happened, the driver openly wept.
The Hope ministry had traded in two old busses and pooled several love offerings to finally buy the much-loved newer bus. It was doing more than double duty: transporting staff to work and back, picking up day students from the slum for daily vocational classes; and, in between, ferrying children on field trips, birthday outings, and to church.
When Anderson, class of 2012, heard over social media about what happened to our bus, he knew what a devastating blow it would be for the ministry. As a resident, he had ridden many times in our old busses and knew their importance. As an alumnus, he was proud to occasionally see the new improved model fly by.
When he heard the news, the quiet, extremely introverted Anderson dropped his usual reserve and lit up the social media wires, calling on his fellow alumni to take action and donate now. “Don’t you remember that the busses meant our freedom? And all the fun places they transported us to?”   
The other graduates understood. They started a campaign to raise the $20,000 needed to replace the bus—no small feat for young adults with average monthly salaries of $750. A church heard about their initiative and, touched, contributed the remaining funds.  We bought the replacement bus.
Some months later, I was told I had a visitor. A tall, well dressed man strode into my office and introduced himself as the owner of Samurai, one of the most prestigious Japanese restaurants in town.
He said, “Do you know Anderson, also known as Ne-ne?” Puzzled, I nodded yes.  “He works as my sous-chef. Only last night, I learned that he had been raised at this place called the City of Youth. I came down immediately to learn more about you, and understand how you were able to prepare such an outstanding professional!” (I immediately made arrangements to visit the restaurant to experiment Anderson’s cooking for myself). The businessman became a faithful supporter — and I became a regular customer!  
This Chef truly is the salt of the earth. It was completely foreign to Anderson’s nature to jump in and lead a campaign. Yet he stepped out of his shell and did it—much like another quiet hero of the Bible. But in Anderson’s case, it was not a burning bush that spoke to him, but a burning bus.  


Today, let’s ask the Lord to show us how we can be bold in our faith.  Make us his instruments.