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  • Writer's pictureRoger Duffy

Can I have a volunteer?

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

It was just after we had come back from the Russian Conference Trip and in that Sunday service at the end Pastor Vladimir asked for a volunteer to help dig a grave. Well I thought “I can do that” after all how much trouble can I get myself into digging a hole? Pastor Vladimir said he would pick me up at my flat, so it seemed as if it would be no trouble at all.

After going to Moscow with a bag of clothes and using none of them, I decided to just wear jeans, so I would not ruin my good paints. The Pastor and brother came in suits and ties and I thought to myself “not this time.” I kept my jeans on and we piled in to the small car. Driving in the Belarus country was beautiful with the tall white birch trees with the black bottom on the trunk. Rolling fields that seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Colorful wild flowers separated the fields from the edge of the road and there seemed to be no end of it in sight.

We came to a small grave site in the middle of nowhere and we all piled out of the car. Pastor Vladimir open up the trunk and both of them proceeded to take off the suites and put on old clothes. I thought to myself “how can this be happening to me again?”. What is the right way? If I go right, everyone goes left. If I go left, everyone goes right. Seems GOD is teaching me an important lesson, but I just don’t seem to be able to figure it out. They took a small shovel out of the trunk, it looked more like a spade than a long-handled shovel. They marked the hole to be dug and started to remove the top soil. As the hole became about three feet deep, they handed the shovel to me. Well no need for interpretation, it was my turn to dig. As I stepped down and started to remove the soil like clay, it became evident, that the length of the shovel was too short to throw the dirt out easily. As I motioned that it would be nice to have a longer handle shovel, I heard “you capitalist.” Well, I guess I wanted to make the job easier and quicker because it was me digging the bottom of the hole. I think this was just a matter of perspective.

As they gave me a hand out of the six-foot hole, we all walked over to the back of the car putting the small shovel back in the trunk and taking out their suits, they began to change back into their suits. I stood there all dirty and thought to myself., “I just can’t win.” Jumping into the car and starting to drive back I thought, “no great loss, at least I helped.” As I peered out of the window, I noticed that we pulled to a small wooden house, everybody got out, well if they are going in, I guess I will too. Just as I entered, I realized this was the dead persons’ wake and there I was full of dirt. I thought to myself “What kind of impression am I making as the only American for hundreds of miles and look at me unkept and unclean.” No, GOD does not look at the outside, but He sees the only American for hundreds of miles and he came just to dig this elderly grandmother grave. He did what not many want to do, blessing those who can not bless you back.

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1 Comment

Wanda Ferguson
Wanda Ferguson
Jun 09, 2023

Humility is hard to swallow.

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