Small Bodies, Big Hearts
WHAT would it be like to talk to strangers about God’s Kingdom if you were only 30 inches [76 cm] tall? Laura can tell you. At 33 years of age, that is her height, just 30 inches [76 cm]. She and her sister, María, who is 24 years old and 34 inches [86 cm] tall, live in Quito, Ecuador. Let them explain the obstacles they face in their Christian ministry.
“To get to our preaching territory and to Christian meetings, we walk about a third of a mile [half kilometer] to catch a bus. From where it drops us off, we walk another third of a mile [half kilometer] to get a second bus. Unfortunately, along this path live five hostile dogs. Dogs are very frightening to us because they can seem as big as horses. To ward them off if necessary, we take along a stick, which we hide somewhere before catching the bus so that it will be available for our walk home.
“Getting on the bus is literally a big step for us. We stand atop a mound of dirt at the bus stop in order to board more easily. Some drivers pull over to the mound, but others do not. In that case, the taller one of us helps the shorter to get on. Catching the second bus requires that we cross a busy highway—a real effort with our short legs. Because of our small stature, a heavy bookbag presents an additional challenge. To make the bag lighter, we use a pocket-size Bible and also limit the amount of literature that we carry.
“Since childhood, we have both been very introverted. Our neighbors know that talking to strangers has always been an intimidating experience for us. Therefore they are surprised and impressed to see us knocking on their doors, and they usually give us a hearing ear. But where we are not so well-known, people often see only that we are midgets; thus, they do not always give us the serious attention that our message deserves. Nonetheless, sensing Jehovah’s love gives us the heart to continue in the evangelizing work. Meditating on Proverbs 3:5, 6 also gives us courage.”
As Laura and María demonstrate, persevering despite physical hindrances can glorify God. The apostle Paul prayed that his “thorn in the flesh,” possibly a physical affliction, be taken away from him. But God told him: “My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you; for my power is being made perfect in weakness.” Yes, a physical handicap need not be removed for us to be able to serve God. Complete reliance on God can help us to make the best of our circumstances. Because Paul regarded his “thorn in the flesh” this way, he could say: “When I am weak, then I am powerful.” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 9, 10) Some years later Paul wrote: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.”—Philippians 4:13.
In modern times, God is accomplishing a mighty work through men, women, and children who are fully devoted to him. A number of them are impaired in some way. Though all of them hope for divine healing under God’s Kingdom, they are not waiting until God relieves them of their problems before trying to do something in his service.
Do you suffer from some physical weakness? Take courage! Through your faith you can be among those like Paul, Laura, and María. Of them it can be said, as was the case with men and women of faith in ancient times: “From a weak state [they] were made powerful.”—Hebrews 11:34.
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María helps Laura to get on the bus
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“Dogs are very frightening to us because they can seem as big as horses”
Below: Laura and María and those who studied the Bible with them