“How can one feed these people with bread in a desolate place?….And He said to them do you not yet understand?” Mark 8: 4 & 2
In 1913 the Ford motor company had to hire 963 workers for every 100 it needed to maintain the payroll. Henry Ford was after quality and in doing so he raised the minimum wage from $2.38 to $5.00 per day. Many people thought Ford was crazy and that he was on the fast track to bankrupt his company. But Ford recognized the human element in mass production and claimed “when you pay men well you can talk to them. Ford’s profits doubled in two years and he made something that was “elite” become accessable to the common man. Fast forward to the present and the value of $5.00 has been dimished. 5.00 can buy a coffee or both a coffee and a donut depending on where your coffee addiction is appeased. Daily coffee consuption and the cost is always being used as an example but it hits home. The other night when my husband was coming home, the reality of this hit me as he told me the story of Lea, a precious 8 year old girl who overfllowed with such a joy and a passion for life that both inspires and challenges me.
My husband was on his way home and he had to pull over to fix the mirrors on his bike. When he did Little Miss Lea, who was walking with her grandfather who was in his 70s, came up to him and asked him the time. Per usual this became an opportunity in which her story was shared. She and her grandfather had left their village in search of a cousin. Lea got kicked out of school because they were unable to pay her school fees which translated to $5.00 US dollars.( I was just about to type “only” $5.00 but then I recognized the weight that that amount brought to Lea and her grandfather.) They were traveling to their cousin with a hope that he would help them out financially because for Leas grandfather, her schooling was of utmost importance.
They borrowed 3,000 ( 6 dollars) for a taxi to bring them to their cousins place of business. When they got there they were told that He was not on the grounds. The security guard took pity on them and told them where they could find his house. When they got to his house they were told that the cousin traveled but the grandfather had a feeling and instead of leaving he and Lea waited by the house anyway. Not too long after they saw their cousin coming out of the gate in his car. They chased the car and when the window was rolled down the cousin preceded to insult them and he didn’t want to acknowledge their relation to him. So lea and her grandfather are now in a place they know noone with no way to get back to their village. They found a place to sleep and were both bitten by mosquitoes. It also poured all through the night and the next day.
A motobike taxi driver from their village happened upon them and they begged him to help them. He suggested that he take their phone and contact somebody that knew somebody. Needless to say that phone was not seen again. They both started looking for help and after walking a distance from Bristol to Newport that’s where they found James. James asked more about their story and found out the the grandfathers wife was from Ghana and there was a time that she was really sick so she traveled to Ghana but never returned. They don’t know if she just got so overwhelmed with life here and abandoned them or if she is still alive. Leas father was a mason and when they went to find him they were also told that he had traveled to find work in Nigeria and they havent heard from him in 8 months. Leas mother left when she was two, but in all these stories of abandonment this little girl was so joyful and full of life. She could translate fon to french and she even spoke some English. James was burdened by their story and brought them each to a cafeteria where they could get some spaghetti. Lea was troubled because she saw the spaghetti as being too expensive (less than a dollar). James said that when she saw the food her eyes went wide and she ws surprised that it was all for her. In the end, James sent them off with some provisions from our shop and enough money for their taxi and school fees.
The passage in Mark stands out to me because there are so many times that feel like the disciples and cry out how can one feed them bread in this desolate place? I get so overwhelmed by the need and forget that God is still the one that provides. I am challenged by Jesus’ response of do you not yet understand. Its as if he is saying do you not yet understand that I am the bread of life?