Thursday, December 09, 1999

A Starfish

(named Marius)

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

The man walked along the ocean shore in peaceful solitude contemplating the meaning of life. The tide had brought in thousands of starfish soon to die stranded on the beach. In the distance he observed another man, leaning over picking up one starfish at a time and tossing it back into the ocean. Soon the first man caught up with the second. “Why are you wasting your time with those starfish. Can’t you see there are literally thousands along this shoreline! What difference can you make?” At that, the man gently bent down picked up another helpless starfish and cast it far out into the waters. “It made a difference to that one.”

And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Acts 3:2

Friday evening the rain came down with a fury, but that did not stop the faithful from attending the prayer service for the “Wheels to the World” distribution. Braving the elements was a small task for the parents of Marius. They came into the church carrying the small boy and the newspaper article with Joni’s picture and title “Help for the Handicapped”. They asked if they were in the right place. Proudly I responded with a smile – “yes, you are definitely at the right place.”

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. Matthew 21:14

We didn’t see them again until late on the last afternoon. Coming in while our impromptu band was playing “Jingle Bells” Marius was glad to handle a tambourine and join in. He was the last one to receive a chair that last day. CARE EE walked back with his parents to the fitting area. Janet Michaels the physical therapist seated him in a pediatric wheelchair. As I bent down to talk to him he began to weep uncontrollably. I was fearful that I’d frightened him. I had our interpreter ask if he was scared? He shook his head. “Ask why he is crying” I said. To which little Marius replied “I’m crying because I can’t walk.”

Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I to you: In the name of Jesus Christ… Acts 3:6

The fifteen year-old Luiza had seen more than her share of sorrow in the last three days, but the tears of this child was more than she could bear. She turned her face and walked out of the fitting area so that he would not see her crying. I grabbed a music box and wound it. When he heard the music, he smiled brightly and bravely wiped his face. We went through all the magic and toys my red bag of tricks held, Marius enjoying his private show. Then we took out the infamous keyboard, and he quickly began to sing into the microphone “jingle bells, jingle bells” the familiar (after fifty choruses) carol never sounded so good.

Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw …. the lame to walk: …and they glorified the God of Israel. Matthew 15:31

There were many blind and lame left unhealed when Christ departed from the Mount of Olives. Marius did not leave that afternoon healed. His small legs were still deformed, but he and his parents left with more than a pediatric wheelchair, crutches, and a walker that he can utilize as he grows in height. This family and each one of the over five hundred families ministered to by the “Wheels to the World” campaign left with the hope of the risen Christ. The team finished up the week knowing our labor was not in vain. We boarded the train back to Bucharest, and the plane back to the States saddened by the many lives still in great need.

But the departing smile on the face of Marius, reminded each of us “we made a difference to that one”.