By Ed Lyons
“Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
Sometimes the Lord unexpectedly grabs your attention and teaches you a lesson that lasts a lifetime.
Abdelaziz lives in the Nuba mountains of Sudan and suffers from cerebral palsy. In January, 2017, Persecution Project handed Abdelaziz the “keys” to his new vehicle – a three-wheeled, hand-powered cycle. This wheelchair bike gave Abdelaziz his freedom… freedom to go where he wanted, when he wanted – without having to rely upon someone else to carry him.
You could tell by the smile on his face and his contagious laughter just how much this gift meant to him. We even posted a video of the first time he took his new ride out on the open road, which was actually a rock-strewn dirt path. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s a must see, but be prepared for the tears which will undoubtedly fall.
You can watch the video by clicking here.
I was walking through Abdelaziz’s village on my way to the Gigaiba Referral Hospital. Off in the distance, I heard the unmistakable sound of Abdelaziz. I searched the horizon until I saw his form and the frantic waving of his arm. Although at least a quarter of a mile away, I knew exactly who it was. After all these years, he was still making good use of his bike. I waved back, which brought a gleeful response.
Later that evening, Abdelaziz showed up at our compound. We laughed, took some photos together, and parted ways – or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, Abdelaziz spent the night… not in a spare bed or even indoors. He stayed outside our compound, enduring an all-night downpour.
The next morning, I looked outside and was surprised to see his form not far from the window. No longer on his bike, he was huddled under a truck to escape the rain. The sight broke my heart.
I told a team member, “Abdelaziz is outside! In the rain. Go see what he wants.” My colleague soon returned and told me that Abdelaziz hadn’t arrived early. He had never gone home.
“He wants an audio Bible.”
Abdelaziz thought that if he went home, he might miss his opportunity to get an audio Bible. They were going quickly. Everyone I met wanted one. I distributed hundreds on my visit, mostly to patients at the hospital, and only a few remained in my room.
And Abdelaziz got one. His perseverance paid off.
Personally, I haven’t seen such hunger in anyone for the Word of God, and I doubt I ever will. I keep asking myself if I would sleep under a truck all night, in the mud, during a downpour, for a chance to get a copy of the Scriptures? May God give all of us the faith of this poor man with special needs in Sudan!
A friend of mine closes all his e-mails with the following: “Life is short, eternity is long. Invest big in eternity.”
Abdelaziz is investing big in eternity. He’s all in.