Do Hungry People Ring Your Doorbell? (Elena Huegel, Chile)
This is a common occurrence in my life. Last week, an elderly woman rang the doorbell right at dusk.
Do hungry people ring your doorbell? This is a common occurrence in my life. Last week, an elderly woman rang the doorbell right at dusk. It was cold out, and I ran to answer thinking it was one of the girls who had forgotten her keys. “Would you have something you could give me to eat?” she asked me politely. Our pantry was nearly empty, because Acsa, the nursing student who lives with me, had not yet been to the store for the week. I found a box of macaroni and cheese and took it to the gate. She received the box with heartfelt thanks.
A second after I closed the door, the doorbell rang again. “Can you tell me how to cook this?” asked the same lady. “I don’t know how to read,” she added. I read the instructions on the box for her.
Yesterday it was right after lunch. We had guests and no leftovers. I answered the door when the bell rang. This time it was a young man with dreadlocks. He looked confused when I asked, in the traditional way, “¿En qué le puedo server?” (How might I be of service to you?) He could not look directly at me as he mumbled, “What can I do? I am hungry.” I asked him to wait a minute. Acsa helped me prepare a cheese sandwich, a cup of hot tea, and an apple. Again he did not look at me as I gave him the food, but he said “thank-you” softly and placed the sandwich, the cup, and the apple in an old paint bucket and walked away.
I rarely see the people twice, and have often wondered if someone has put a secret mark on our house or if people work their way through the whole neighbourhood until they get to ours. The answer came to me last year, on an icy day, when a barefoot, toothless, shaggy haired young man rang the doorbell. He frightened Carolina, my other house mate, and at the same time sparked her compassion. She called me to the door. “I am hungry,” he stated in a childlike voice, “and I want to go home.” I opened the gate and went and sat next to him on the curb. He told me his long sad story of abuse and loneliness. Carolina prepared some food as I listened. I gave him the five dollars he said he needed to for the bus home. We got him a warm pair of socks and a jacket, too. He smiled and exclaimed excitedly, “I just knew that at this house I would find someone who loves God! I can see in your eyes that you do.” I guess God has marked our house. Has God marked yours?
Elena Huegel, a member of Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer, Los Fresnos, Texas, serves the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She is an environmental and Christian education specialist.