There are certain things we are used to seeing in our village. People heading out for the day’s fishing, a few kids getting a ride to the school 10 miles away, ever-present roosters searching for their breakfast and of course wandering dogs. Nothing new. Thats the rhythm of life here. It’s a nice rhythm that doesn’t beat to the drum of a clock.
So it was a break from the ordinary running into a man we usually have conversations with named *Ur. Running into him wasn’t strange, but seeing him hoist a ladder up to a street light was. As we quizzed him about this unusual event, we found out that the street light was broken. In fact, all of the street lights were broken. This was very surprising to me, since the village only received power 4 years ago.
As we stopped our intended trek (which is why you always hold your “plans” very loosely) to help Ur with a job that clearly required more men and equipment than he possessed, we began to ask him about the lights. “The power company doesn’t come out here, so we have to fix them ourselves.” As I saw Ur precariously banging on the cantilever arm of the light with one hand and using the other to squeeze the concrete pole with everything he had, I began to think this wasn’t a worthy endeavor. Why get yourself killed for a street light? The rest of the village is essentially darkness. Why go to so much trouble fixing this light?
It was only after Ur had gotten the light arm repositioned and rewired while we held the light with a rope that the work was done and we could ask him a few more questions. It was over lunch that we were able to see the seriousness of the lights.
Ur told us that these lights are critical for the fishermen at night. They can’t see the village shore when they are on the Laguna. There are no villages for many kilometers and the light from these street lights pierce the darkness and help the fishermen see their way to safety.
Then it struck me, this is a picture of the Gospel! It may seem foolish to go where we go, and to do what we do, but this area is as dark as any moonless night in the desert. We are like Ur, doing dangerous work because these people need the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone can save them. He alone can bring them safely home!
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
As we sat with Ur over lunch talking about work and family, he began to ask us about eternal life. What a joy to talk about the Light who came into the world to seek and save those who are lost and separated from God by sin. We were able to connect him with the believing family in the village (the single light in the darkness), and they are continuing the conversation with Ur.
So next time you look up at a street light, remember the work here in *ML and pray for Ur. Also pray for the believing family here who is shining the light in the darkness!
*Names of people and locations were changed for security purposes