The Blind Beggar at the Bus Stop

February 20, 2000

Early in January I received an e-mail from Aletta Bell, our longtime missionary to India. Four years ago this month I was part of a team from Calvary that visited Dr. Bell to see firsthand her work at Duncan Hospital in a city called Raxaul, on the border between India and Nepal. Day after day we watched as Dr. Bell and her colleagues offered medical help in the name of Christ to patients who were mostly Hindu and Muslim. It happens that Raxaul is located in a state called Bihar, which is the least evangelized area of India. There aren’t many churches, and the ones that exist tend to be very small by American standards. But the Christians we met were filled with zeal to reach their neighbors for Christ. The work is hard and progress must be measured in terms of generations, not simply days and weeks.

I remember very clearly how cheerful Dr. Bell seemed all the time. After more than 30 years in India, this was home to her, and God had given her much joy in serving the people she met every day. In her message to me, Dr. Bell told how she celebrated the new year:

“I spent the new millennium in a little church in south India which is pastored by a man who has been blind since age nine. He has a lovely wife who keeps a beautifully clean and tidy little house, two pretty teenage daughters, and a teenage son in grade 11, who has to get around in a wheelchair because of polio at age 18 months, which left him with useless legs. I asked the pastor what difference Christ has made in his life. Without hesitation he replied, ’If I had not heard about Jesus Christ and accepted Him in my life, I would just be another blind beggar at the bus stop.’ And that is exactly where we found him 30 years ago-a blind nine-year-old boy begging at the bus stop. What a difference Christ makes! His church is growing with new converts being baptized at least twice a year. I met ten who are waiting to be baptized. What a blessing he now is to others because his spiritual eyes have been opened, and his life is devoted to sharing with others the Good News that he heard.”

She closed her message with these words: “I appreciate all of you so much and count it a real honor to be part of the CMC family. God bless you all.”

It occurs to me that she honors us by being part of our missionary family. Aletta Bell is one reason why we will spend nearly a quarter-million dollars this year for world missions. Because of Dr. Bell, and others like her, the light of the gospel is spreading from Oak Park to the ends of the earth.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?