Good Samaritans
Sunday April 21st 2024, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

In photos and stories a couple dear to us gave a presentation tonight on what it was like to be the volunteer presidents of a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in central Africa these past three and a half years, arriving just as Covid was starting up. They already spoke French, and with the legacy of French colonialism there they were able to fit in pretty quickly linguistically.

They told stories of wonderful people. So kind. So generous.

You could not get medical treatment unless you paid in advance. They had a missionary who was in a motorcycle accident and found him in the hospital: in that country where almost everybody had almost nothing, someone had found him, brought him in, and had paid for his care, which surely would have been a serious financial struggle to do. They did not know who.

They told how they realized that they could make a huge difference in the lives of the African-born missionaries serving under them by getting them lessons in speaking English: those who did, their earning potential went up by 30-60% after their missions. The need for education was so great. School was only for those rich enough to pay for it.

And so they set up daily online English sessions. With the Church’s help, they added college courses as well. You might not have a bachelor’s yet, you might not have an associate degree yet, but if you had a certificate verifying that you had finished a course in (name that subject) you were already way ahead in the job market.

But the human brain being what it is, the story that will probably stay with me a long time is of how when they had to drive between the two cities, there was no rule of law out on the road. But there were plenty of people who saw white people who had a car and thought $$$ and they would stop them, pretend to be cops, and demand a bribe in order to be allowed to continue.

It is illegal for a US citizen to pay a bribe. Period. Not that they would anyway because all it does is make it worse the next time.

So Todd would just talk to them, being his sweetest self, actually caring about them personally, hail-fell0w-well-met, determined to live this religion of brotherly love he believed in, till they gave up and waved them on by.

There was one time when that did not work. The men were determined and working themselves up into serious anger despite his best efforts at deescalation. In our friends’ most intense moment of silent praying, suddenly some random guy they’d never laid eyes on before rushed to the scene going, Hey! Leave those guys alone, they’re my friends!

And they did!

On the return home there was no one and their path was clear.

And on their return home to the US he just got offered a job to help expand that BYU Pathways program to more areas like that. Education, education, education.

1 Comment so far
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Wow, what an experience!

Comment by DebbieR 04.22.24 @ 7:32 am

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