Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Month of Love


The People Who Love

February is the month of love. With Valentine’s Day coming in the middle of the month, our thoughts turn to the topic of love, especially the love between a man and a woman. But there are other types of love—the love God has for His creation, and the brotherly type of love a person has for another person.

My sister told me a story once that came out of our time as a family in Nigeria when my parents were missionaries. Our dad used to sometimes travel to rural areas to hold day clinics. We lived among the Yoruba people. They speak a beautiful sing-song tonal language.

They also play a lot of drums and have a certain drum they call the talking drum. This drum was used in days gone by to beat out messages and send them to neighboring villages. Since the language is tonal, the various tones of the drum could be understood as words by the people. As children we grew used to hearing the drums and could even understand some of the words and messages beat from them. 

One day, my older sister, Alisa, accompanied our dad on one of his nearby village clinics. She rode on the back of his bicycle as he peddled them to the village. As they approached she heard the usual drums but as she listened, she realized it was not the usual message she was accustomed to.

Usually the drums beat out Oyinbo, which meant peeled one. This was the Yoruba word for white people and it was the drums letting the villagers know the missionaries were visiting. But that day, the sound was different.

Alisa asked our dad, who was fluent in the Yoruba language, why the drums were different, what were they saying? He listened a minute and then told her the drums were saying “The people who love are coming.” He explained that this would be understood by the villagers as the medical people were coming. It was their way of letting the people know a clinic would be held. Health professionals were seen as people who cared about the well-being of the villagers. They were the people who loved.