Updated: Jul 20
By Sis. Shaye Spell
As I drive into the subdivision, I notice there are children swarming over doorsteps and playing in almost every driveway. At first glance, it appears to be a very happy, thriving place. Then I begin my work. As I approach the first door with the invite in my hand, I clearly see what many cannot. The grassy yard is in need of watering; there are many dead patches with dirt showing. Next to the broken sidewalk reside bits of trash, blown and scattered by the wind. As I lift my hand to ring the doorbell, I notice it is hanging from the wall with its wires exposed. So I knock instead. It takes several knocks to be heard over the loud music coming from within the home. A face appears in the cracked window, partially covered by a blanket instead of a curtain. Finally, the door opens, just a crack, and standing there is an angel.
She is about five years old wearing the sad eyes of a teenager. Her hair is falling into her eyes, greasy from days of neglect. Her face has yesterday's lunch remains stuck to it, and her fingernails have remnants of black grit from her recent enjoyment of making mud pies. Her unmatched clothes have been dug out from beneath a pile of dirty laundry in a corner. Nevertheless, she smiles up at me. "Hello!" I smile my sweetest smile to project my love to her. She is nervous, looking around her shoulder to see if there is someone else I would be smiling at. Maybe she thinks she is undeserving of this love. I stoop down to her level. "I came here to see YOU," I tell her softly. Oh, how her eyes light up once again! She has the innocent eyes of a child. I then tell her about Sunday School. How the big church bus will pick her up tomorrow morning and bring her to church. I tell her about the breakfast, the songs, the puppets, and, most of all, about how she will learn about Jesus, the One who loves her the most.
From inside, a man yells, "Who is that? Shut the door!" I notice she flinches at his voice. I tell her to get her mommy or daddy so I can ask their permission for her to come to church tomorrow. She looks scared all of a sudden, and she seems to shrink back into herself, head down, eyes dull. I tell her, "I know you want to come, but I have to ask them." She turns and disappears for a few minutes. When she returns, she says her mommy is asleep and won't wake up. Her daddy isn't here.
I step into the house; it is dim and hot. In a corner, in front of the television, is a big burly man in cut-off jeans without a shirt. Many empty beer cans are scattered around his chair. The tiny angel wraps her little arms tightly around my legs and hides her face in my skirt as I stand in front of him. I am not the least bit scared. I feel as though a host of angels are standing behind me, and I am facing a squatty, weak demon from the pits of hell. "Are you her dad?" I ask. He says no. His eyes are bloodshot, his pupils dilated.
I go through my whole invitation as quickly as possible, repeating myself several times, as he asks, "huh?" "May she please go?" I ask. Then he says the words that I was waiting for. "I don't care." She and I quickly turn and go outside to the porch. She is so excited and asking so many questions! "Please, if I'm not outside, will you knock on the door in case they change their mind?" Of course we will.
As we hug and say goodbye and I turn to walk away, I take a deep breath. I can feel the Holy Ghost move in me and my eyes fill with tears. Thank you God for bringing me to this door. Thank you for giving me the strength to go inside even though it is heartbreaking to imagine what she must go through.
She could possibly be a Pastor's wife, like me...one day. All because I knocked. It is worth every knock, every disappointment, every trial, to just reach one. Then I realize: this is "OUR" Mission Field. Here, in Baton Rouge. Yes, we support missions, all over the world. We send money and we offer up prayers. While here, in our own city is a world, still untouched by the Christian witness. Go ye therefore means to go, but we do not have to travel very far to be missionaries. How can we neglect those that are hurting, dying, and lost, right here at home? We must work, we must COMMIT, and we must spend our money and our time in this mission field—our very own given to us by God.