Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God Story #11

As Christmas quickly approaches I want to share some "God stories" with you that have been shared with me lately. The following is a newspaper article written by one of the members of our team to Jamaica in November. If you want to share a God story that I can share with our church family please email me at

After witnessing extreme poverty, malnutrition and poor health conditions in the mountains of Jamaica, we focus on how richly blessed our family, friends and community are this Thanksgiving. The most severe situation in our daily lives pale when put alongside the struggle of these brothers and sisters in Christ.

Upon further pondering their plight, we see two things wrong with the last statement. First, it is never fair to compare and, second, these folks do not consider their station in life a struggle. Time and again we saw people working together and thankful for what they have. One such example is engraved forever in Rusty’s memory.

It was a long drive for a short visit with a Jamaican family in the hills near Green Pond. Friend Chuck had introduced Rusty to John B. a few years ago and this time they took along Pastor Chris. He is nicknamed “Burn John” because as a young boy he had fallen into a fire. Thirty years later the result of the accident is still shocking. His face is severely disfigured causing him to be legally blind.

On the day of their visit, John was cutting wood to make charcoal that he sells. Hearing Rusty and Chuck’s voices, he extended his calloused hands and offered greetings of “blessings and joy: peace and love!” Other members of his clan returning from tending the yams, coffee and bananas were happy and welcoming. Nephew David, who has slurred speech, proudly showed the men the two-room house built of scraps of wood, some rusty tin and torn tarps.

Inside, with little room to turn around, they saw his “mushed” bike with broken rim and torn tire that he uses to ride 10 miles over rough trails and roads to work. In another, smaller, shack the three Americans were directed to John’s mother, Louise. Laying on a cot, too weak and poor to seek hospital care, she was wrapped in a blanket wearing a fancy brown hat. Withered to a frail 70 pounds, she was kept clean and comfortable by her family’s love.

The visitors knelt by the matriarch. Chris held her hand and stroked her thin arm. He prayed with the family and as he finished speaking to God, Louise’s eyes gently opened and her toothless mouth moved ever so slightly.

As they stepped outside of the shack, Chuck asked the family when they last had a meal with meat. John replied that he couldn’t remember the last time. His statement, matter of fact and showing no embarrassment, never hinted for help. There was no sorrow, regret or grief. This family was thankful and grateful for what they had.

Rusty witnessed a family relationship on the horizontal level where food, chores and caring were shared. On a horizontal level, they praised their heavenly Father for “monumental” blessings. Thank you, Jamaican friends, we rejoice with gratitude for the lesson of contentment.

Rusty and Claire Orner with their two sons, Walker and Ashton, are stewards of the non-profit educational organization, Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living in Brookville Pennsylvania. They can be contacted at Quiet Creek 2010.