I WAS FEELING overwhelmed.
I don’t think I’d ever been in such a crowded place before. Sure, I’d been in bigger cities, but never in a location where 950,000 plus people were poured together in this kind of a living, moving, elbow-to-elbow mass. Welcome to Arusha, Tanzania.
More than a few of the local residents greeted me that first morning and tried to sell me their wares. “Support me, please” they would plead. ”No thank you,” I would tell them. (What would I do with a Masai warriors dagger anyway?) Most are desperately trying to eke out some sort of a meager living. ”Living.” That’s a laugh. Perhaps I should say, “existence.” I worry about paying this month’s cell phone bill. Tanzanians worry about where their next meal is coming from.
I wasn’t looking for souvenirs anyway; I was looking for souls. Hungry souls. Correct that. A hungry soul. Singular. Period. One. In the tens of thousands that aimlessly wandered the streets of that burgeoning community, I was interested in finding someone who was looking beyond the day’s mundane pursuits. I wanted to find one individual who yearned for something more than “what shall we eat, or what shall we wear?”
Philip found one of those folks back in the New Testament. Oddly enough, he was an African too (cf. Acts 8). The man was riding in his chariot reading through Isaiah 53, but he needed help in interpreting the sacred text. The guy had a hungry spirit; he just needed a guide. He needed someone to help him interpret the ancient words. In His marvelous providence, God brought the hungry soul and the willing guide together.
That’s my daily prayer—whether I’m on foreign soil, or here back in Alabama—that the Father repeats that circumstance with me.
”Lead me to some soul today, oh teach me Lord just what to say. Friends of mine are lost in sin and cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, and few there are who pray. Melt my heart and fill my life. Give me one soul today.”