For some time now, I have been meditating on Romans 12 and the marks of a true Christian. It is a long list and I definitely still have a lot to work on as I strive to be more like Jesus from the inside out. Recently, the Lord has given me circumstances where I have been able to observe some of these verses coming to life.

A few months ago, I was away from Tonj for a few weeks. Upon my return, my teammate Tianna shared with me how Jesus had intertwined her path with a woman who was very sick and whose baby was extremely malnourished. She had been visiting them in the hospital and at their home, praying for a miracle, as the doctors didn’t look upon the situation with too much promise. A few days after I returned to Tonj, we received word that the baby had passed. Here in South Sudan, infant mortality rate is high and I have yet to meet a woman with a handful of children who has not experienced the death of at least one of her babies. Culturally, there is a fatalistic outlook on life, so the death of a lost loved one, especially a child, should not be mourned because it is a fact of life. After receiving the news of the passing of the baby, we went to visit the woman at her home. Upon arrival, Tianna began to lovingly tell her that she was sorry for her loss and was moved to tears. I was able to see the hardness of this woman’s face soften as Tianna reached out and took her hand. Soon tears began to stream down the woman’s face. No more words were said for some minutes as the two mourned together. As I observed this, I saw the love of Jesus coming through Tianna. She had no comforting words to say, but her actions spoke louder than any words ever could. This is the heart of Jesus. He mourns with us when we mourn, and calls us to do the same for our brothers and sisters.

Sometimes, I am known for being a realist. Stating the facts and at times being insensitive to others around me, as I don’t always think before I speak. We had interns in Tonj for about a month this summer. It’s always nice to have some new faces to give a fresh perspective on daily life here and how different it is from America, as I have become accustomed to the cultural and living differences. New experiences and things that may bring joy to others may not excite me much or even affect me at all. Unfortunately, I found myself being a “bubble popper” through my realism and lack of a filter. I was reminded by a teammate that celebrating the joys of others is just as important as mourning with them. It is just as much of His heart in showing love.

As believers, we are called to love each other genuinely. As a church, we are called to support one another in all circumstances as we follow the teachings of Jesus. Through His example, we see that He feels what we feel, and intensely cares for each and every one of His sheep. We should strive to do the same, “rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep.”