Maybe he's just late, I thought. Typically punctual, he was nowhere to be found. Confused and curious, I went on with my day and just waited to find out what the explanation could be for his absence. Fast forward to the following day. Out of breath and apologetic, Masato hurriedly came into class explaining why he wasn't there the day before.
Teacher, lost...my wallet...lost. I take bus--first bus...lost wallet.
"Well, Masato, how did you get to school?"
Call my host family...pick me up. No wallet...no pass for bus...no money. Nothing.
"Oh no, Masato! I'm so sorry! That's terrible!"
Gathering my thoughts and shuffling papers together to continue on with my lesson for the day, I listened intently to the conversation that was taking place between Masato and another student of mine, Hussein.
Once Hussein had heard what had happened to Masato, he looked Masato square in the eyes and said, "Money. Do you need money?" Shocked and slightly embarrassed, Masato quickly gasped "No! No! So-k!" Hussein--still insistent--replied with this:
"Please. If you need help. Ask. Anytime. We are family--like brothers."
These students have been together in class for about four weeks. Hussein is from Saudi Arabia (where most of my students are from) and Masato is from Japan. Though their English is limited, these two had an incredibly weighty exchange. What lacked in eloquence and impressive vocabulary was made up for in honesty, generosity and loyalty to one's brother. Hussein meant what he said, and I was moved, challenged and inspired.
I realize that this brief anecdote sheds light onto a number of cultural implications, but at the root of it all, I was reminded how we are put on this earth to love God and love others--bringing glory to His name. Do we put each other's needs before our own? Are we being intentional about staying aware of our surroundings so that we can meet the needs of those around us? Are we selfish or selfless in our day-to-day?
That simple yet profound response to a brother's difficult situation has stayed in my head for days: We are family--like brothers. Even if we only understood a morsel of the power behind this statement, our lives would be much richer as we get to experience a bit more of the heart of Christ.