People know what you are by what they see, not what they hear.
When Wycliffe translator Doug Meland and his wife moved into a village of Brazil’s Fulnio Indians, he was referred to simply as “the white man.” The term was by no means complimentary, since other white men had exploited them of their lands.
But after the Melands learned the Fulnio language and began to help the people with medicine and in other ways, they began calling Doug “the respectable white man.”
When the Melands began adapting the customs of the people, the Fulnio gave them greater acceptance and spoke of Doug “the white Indian.”
Then one day, as Doug was washing the dirty blood-caked foot of an injured Fulnio boy, he overheard a by-stander say to another: “Whoever heard of a white man washing an Indian’s foot before? Certainly this man is from God!” From that day on, whenever Doug would go into an Indian home, it would be announced: “Here comes the man God sent us.”
St. Francis of Assisi one day said to several of his followers, “Let us go to the village over the way and preach.” As they went, they met a humble pedestrian who was greatly burdened. Francis was in no hurry and listened carefully to his tale of woe.
When the village was reached, Francis talked with the shopkeepers, spent time with the farmers at their fruit and vegetable stalls, and played with the children in the streets. On the way back they met a farmer with a load of hay, and Francis spent time with him.
The morning gone, the group reached the monastery from where they had set out in the early morning.
One of the followers, who was greatly disappointed, said to Francis, “Brother Francis, you said you were going to preach. The morning is spent and no sermon has been given.”
And the saintly Francis replied, “But we have been preaching all the way.”
– Prairie Overcomer