Caring for Hard-to-Reach People
Every Jews for Jesus branch missionary has a few people who are different from those we normally visit. Some are hostile and abusive; others are very friendly but not interested in Jesus. We meet lonely people who are just looking for friends, and sometimes we meet people who just don’t perceive the world around them in quite the same way as most others do.
As good stewards, we are obligated to spend the most time with those who seem able or willing to respond to the gospel. Still, we do make time to contact each person who is willing to hear from us at some time during the year. We know that God can change people’s lives, and we would not want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of such a change. Let me tell you about a person I have not given up on for just that reason.
Araldo is an intelligent man, but he is obsessed with his one-man battle. In 1987 he presented an accusation against the Argentine Congress before the office of the Public Prosecutor. Araldo knows something about politics, since his brother is a member of Congress. Araldo himself also spent some years working for the Congress.
For years, Araldo has been so fixated on his case against the Congress that he uses his pension (which he receives from the Congress!) to print some rather strange pamphlets that he distributes to people on the streets. In fact, at first Araldo thought of us Jews for Jesus as some sort of colleagues, since neither of us was very much appreciated by the establishment. Araldo’s whole life revolves around this case,” and he receives psychiatric treatment. I suppose some people think I should also be under psychiatric care because of my fixation on telling people the good news of Jesus!
Anyway, I have known Araldo for some years now. I have witnessed to him many times. I have learned about his ideas and theories concerning various issues, including politics. I visited him when his mother died. I’ve helped him fix things around his house. I don’t spend as much time with him as with some others, but I remember to call him now and then. Some may wonder why.
As a medical student* before I began a life of ministry, and then as a missionary, I have visited several mental institutions in Buenos Aires as well as in the United States. I have met many patients and have discovered that mental health is a gift of God, not to be taken for granted. I have found myself thanking God for my mental health and praying for other people’s.
Who knows? Maybe some day all the energy Araldo is spending to print and distribute pamphlets for a nonexistent cause will be redirected. I pray for the day when he will embrace the only cause that deserves every ounce of our being: the cause of Jesus Christ. Please, pray for Araldo.
*Carlos is an MD who gave up his profession to become a missionary.