"What...you haven't done your Christmas shopping yet?" my co-worker asked rolling her eyes heavenward. Fearing she might gasp to death, I didn't dare to tell her that I hadn't even put the Christmas tree up or done any kind baking for the season.
Usually by this time, a week before Christmas, a fir tree donned with twinkling lights and dangling ornaments would stand elegantly at the corner of our living room with beautifully wrapped up packages skirting its base. I would have also baked the traditional Sri Lankan Christmas cake-the moist black fruit cake a month ahead, cut into pieces and wrapped them up in silvery paper and stored away somewhere in the cupboard. This time somehow, I had put off all things till the last minute, including the blog I needed to post four days prior to Christmas on Inscribe Writers online.
So, when I went home that day, I hurried to my computer to complete the blog which needed to be posted on the 21st. Since I've already given a title and written half-way through,I thought I could finish it in no time. But to my annoyance, words refused to come down my brain and I was in no mood to sit and glare at the screen. Neither was I in a mind to decorate the tree or bake cookies. So, I did what I always did when I'm upset or bored. I turned on the television and scanned the movies on NetFlix to find something new and interesting to watch.
A documentary titled Mama Heidi soon caught my attention. It's the story of Heidi Baker who went with her husband Rolland to Mozambique in 1995 to take care of a horribly dilapidated orphanage with eighty children,when the country was ravaged by civil war and famine. Heidi,lovingly called Mama by the orphans looked fearless and angelic in her mid forties. She walks down dusty streets to rescue dirt crusted unloved and unloveable children from starvation, prostitution and diseases like cholera, malaria, tuberculosis and scabies. She even takes five to six kids from the orphanage to her house every week to give them shower, food and bed and made them feel at home.
"If God doesn't show up, we are dead." said Heidi in one of her interviews. The government tried to close down their center, refused to give the licence to operate the medical clinic,banned them from singing and praying, God showed up in a big way to provide, protect and lead. Bakers' house was robbed and shot at many times. Heidi says, whenever she felt overwhelmed with what she was doing, she heard God saying to her. "Just love the one in front of you, " and He would do the rest.
So,after soaking in God's presence for long hours, Heidi gets back on her feet to seek and minister to the poor, sick and unloveable. Sometimes, the road leads her to the dumpsites where the children live and work amidst swarming flies, smoldering garbage and indescrbable stench.
In such an area, where no foreigner dare to tread, Mama Heidi stands like one of them, singing, preaching and praying in the children's native language. "God has done wonders at the dump,"she says as she lovingly hugs a young man who had once threatened to kill her. Heidi has become the Good News to those abandoned children and unloveable teenagers in Mozambique. They see, touch and experience Christ through her. This is truly the Good News of great joy the angel declared to the shepherds two thousand years ago.
By 1999,the number of orphanaged children has grown from eighty to thousands and Bakers had built two hundred bush churches and trained local pastors.
Watching Mama Heidi made me not to fret any more about Christmas shopping, baking and wrapping done on time. Instead, it shifted my focus to change the title of my posting for Inscribe Writers online and write something different. After all, Christmas is never about me or mine. It's more about Him and His.