A lady named Eleanor

About a year ago we had a team doing door to door evangelism who ran into a paralyzed, almost blind woman.  That woman made such an impression on this team that they had asked me to check back in on her for them. A few weeks later we had another team so I went with them this time to meet her.  She had fallen many years ago and has not been able to walk.  She has a makeshift wheelchair with a plastic patio chair as the seat. She is left all day long alone either under a shade tree in her wheelchair or on the dirt floor in her home.  She told our last team as we visited that “my family wakes up, gets dressed, and runs out the door every morning”.  We all laughed at the way she said it, but it is truly a sad reality.  Can you imagine?  All day long sitting or lying with no way to move, go to the bathroom, sit up, or even eat?  Only one time when we have visited were there any family there. It makes me grateful for retirement centers and nursing homes in the US.  There is not anything like that here in Haiti and many of the elders are forgotten just like Eleanor.  Even in her hopelessness the joy of the Lord radiates from her! Every time we go by she continually repeats “mesi Jezi, mesi Jezi”(thank you Jesus).  She gives thanks to God for sending us to visit with her. She gives glory where it belongs.  She doesn’t thank us for anything because she is wise beyond her years and knows that everything that comes to her is from God and not man.  What a lesson we all need to learn! How many times are we thanking man for things instead of glorifying our God for them? This is not the only lesson that came from meeting Eleanor though.  God wanted to show us more.

On my first visit to meet her, I asked her the typical “have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior” question to which her response was “yes, but I am no longer able to go to church”.  I left that day and could not get Eleanor off my mind.  She is a fragile lady who may not live much longer and she reminded me so much of my own grandmother who passed away just a year ago.  My grandmother was also not able to get out and go to church so we would bring church to her through dvds of our services, but that was not an option for Eleanor living here in Haiti.  God brought to mind the story in Mark 2 about the paralytic whose four friends took him to Jesus and has to remove part of the roof to get him there.  How far are we willing to go to bring people to Christ?  What’s too far?  Where do we draw the line?  Should we draw a line?  When FBC Searcy came down we went again to visit Eleanor again.  She was laying inside her house on a blanket on the floor in the dark.  We all went in and sat down with her to visit.  We told her we would be starting a church soon on the property that we would like her to come to and that we would come get her and take her there.  She was so excited.  The day came that we would have our first Wednesday night church service so my daughter Kaylea went to Eleanor’s to tell her what time we would pick her up.  At this time East Rogersville Tennesee was here and they took the truck to go get Eleanor.  She was dressed in her best, sitting in her wheelchair, ready to go with her daughter there.  I watched her as the song service began, she was smiling her toothless smile and singing her heart out but I couldn’t help but notice her daughter.  She seemed cold, shut off, distant.  She was not singing or reacting in anyway to the service and maybe this is more of the reason God wanted us to bring Eleanor to His church.  After all, it wasn’t just the paralytic in the story that benefited. It was also those sinners who saw the miracle and whose lives turned to Jesus because of it. Please pray for Eleanor, her daughter, and the rest of her family.  Pray for endurance, patience, and willingness for us to continue going out of our way to bring others like Eleanor to Him.  Ask God to show you an Eleanor that you need to go out of your way for. He is so good to us, it’s really the very least we can do.
Madame Eleanor heading to church