In our talks I have sometimes spoken about the work of a lady called Sarah De Carvalho. I hope she won’t mind me sharing some of the things that she wrote in her book called A Survival Guide for Frontline Living. In the book she writes:
“Despite my unworthiness, the Lord asked me in 1990 to give up my career in television, my comfortable apartment in London, my family and friends, to go to Brazil to rescue children living on filthy streets because they have nowhere else to go.” Sarah De Carvalho is a lady who knows about missionary work!
I read the book some time ago but it’s message has stuck with me over the years, mostly because it rightly acknowledges the massive amount of work and dedication that has to happen behind the scenes to keep missionaries ‘in the field.’ She starts the book with a sad, but inspiring, story.
“Once upon a time there was a small village built at the edge of a very wide and fast flowing river. One day a young boy fell in the river and he started to cry out for help. Everyone in the village ran to the river to see if it was their son who had fallen in. There was panic as the small boy kept disappearing under the rapids. Suddenly a teenage boy, renowned for his swimming prowess, found a long thick cord and tying one end around his waist he threw the other end into the crowd. ‘Grab hold of the cord!’ he cried as he dived bravely into the river after the drowning child. The crowd ran along the bank with bated breath. Eventually the teenager reached the boy and locking him in his arms he called out exhausted, ‘Pull the cord!’
On the riverbank there was chaos as everyone looked at everyone else, repeating the desperate cry of the teenager, ‘Pull the cord, pull the cord!’ Then the appalling truth dawned. No one had grabbed hold of the other end of the cord. Each one had thought that someone else was holding it. And the two boys drowned.
The moral of the story is obvious. As the writer says it is a parable about mission. Fortunately for us the Hope and Kindness rope is being held tightly by many people. Tonight I’d like to thank a few of them for holding the rope for us over the past few days. Thank you Jon and Fiona for Wales. Thank you Annie, Liz, Val and Bernadette for organising tonight in Bewdley and thank you to the man who gave £10 to Val and Liz in Marks & Spencer this morning. Thank you for holding our rope so tight that we won’t drown.