I got to Aldi with my shopping bags and quarter. I'm so prepared. I weave my way around a woman wrapped in what I assume to be a burka-type attire-long, plain dress and a cream-colored cloth over her head. Her kids are running up and down the aisle making noise, and they're in the way. I go around them and go about my shopping routine-find item, write down price, add it up before I go to the check out line.
Then I'm on my way to Wal-Mart with my empty gallon jugs to refill with water. Good thing, since Wal-Mart is completely out of distilled water today. Go figure. I get to the flour aisle and there is that same woman with the two annoying kids! The kids are in my way again, and I can't just go around this time. I say "Excuse me" fairly loudly and accidentally bump into the little girl. I say I'm sorry when she looks around, and I quickly go around them and down to another aisle. Mom barely notices. Just as I get to the coffee aisle I realize that I've forgotten to get yeast. I groan (audibly) and make my way back to the aisle where the same woman and her kids are taking up space and slowing me down. This time a man with a ginormous trash can is also blocking the aisle. Great.
I put my cart close to the end of the aisle and walk the short distance to the yeast. The large containers of yeast are all pushed back and I can't reach them. I start to walk away when the woman turns towards me and asks me in broken English about wheat bran. Not being entirely sure what this is myself, my first thought is to tell her "I don't know" and leave. But she says she's making muffins, and I've heard of using other substitutions like oatmeal instead of the bran. We can't find the wheat bran in the flour section, so I suggest she looks with the oatmeal in the cereal aisle. I'm not sure she understood everything I said, but she did repeat "oatmeal" and nodded when I said "with the cereal." She left, I figured out how to get my yeast, and I headed back for the coffee.
Then something-really, I should say Someone-told me to go back and actually help that woman. But I'm in a hurry. I have a frozen chicken in a freezer bag sitting in the car. I can't get rid of the conviction, so I go back to the cereal aisle. I see the woman still in the aisle with her kids, and ask her if she's found what she is looking for. She looks up and seems surprised to see me. Someone comes by and her kids keep screaming. She takes a sigh as if she's tired of shopping with them. I feel both convicted for being annoyed, and sympathy for the woman's situation.I help her find the best option Wal-Mart offers (that I know of) and discuss another substitution for part of her recipe. She thanks me, I tell her to have a good day, and we part ways. I finish my grocery shopping with $2 to spare.
But the entire time I kept thinking about this woman's soul. I kept thinking I should tell her about Jesus and heaven and eternity. Where will this woman and her kids spend forever? Why didn't I tell them?
The woman barely speaks English and wouldn't understand me. She's Muslim and I don't want to be "one of those Christians" who comes across as judgmental and/or preachy. She's tired and I'm in a hurry. These are the excuses that run through my head.
Maybe I could have at least said something-Even "God bless you."
New International Version (NIV)
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?