Breaking Barriers

September 23, 2013

by Karen Dyck, Household Water Program Regional Manager – Africa

A water team in Africa experiences a breakthrough in being Good Samaritans.

By Karen Dyck, Household Water Program Regional Manager – Africa

Every culture has beliefs that need confronting in order to truly live out the Good Samaritan parable.

On one occasion, I had the opportunity to challenge one of my water teams to stop the truck in order to help a woman who was lying face down in the ditch because of a seizure. Her epileptic attacks meant she was an outcast since, according to traditional beliefs in this area of Africa, seizures are contagious and transferrable to those who touch anyone experiencing them.

We pulled the truck over and I hopped out to help the woman. I reached out my hand and removed the debris that was blocking her ability to breathe. When I looked over my shoulder, I saw the team standing next to the truck, watching me. They were wide-eyed with disbelief.

I asked the team to come over and extend a hand to help this frail woman. They helped her into the truck, gave her some water to recover, and then drove her to the port where she had been headed to take a canoe to the nearest health center.

I was so excited to see each team member bravely and even brazenly confront their cultural beliefs in order be a Good Samaritan. Everyone laid hands on the sick woman and prayed for her health as we sent her off at the docks. This humble and courageous act of care gave the team an opportunity to know more of God’s love for themselves and for this beautiful but desperate woman as they reached out to touch her.

As we all work to serve across tribal, religious, socio-economic, and cultural barriers, we will see God move and work in ways that we’ve not yet seen or even imagined.