On the first day we drove to the house we are renting, a dog that looked like a hyena who had lost a battle with a lion, came meandering up with hopeful eyes. Conveying in writing how grotesque this poor boonie (wild) dog is would be impossible. She has patches of missing hair and is constantly scratching herself. Undeniably, she stinks to high-heaven! Obviously, she's had more than one batch of puppies and shows the wear and tear for her troubles. At first, her repulsive appearance made me want to have nothing to do with her and I wished she would go away. In time, neighbors informed us that the former renters had abandoned "Monje" when they moved. It amazed me how long this mongrel held out hope that her owner's would return. Every time we would drive up to the house, Monje would wander over with high expectations that her "long-lost family" would step out of the car. Our neighbors across the street don't want Monje because they already own two dogs; but, being soft-hearted they have taken-up feeding her so she won't starve to death. Nevertheless, she still favors our house--her original home. We give Monje scraps of meat and other assorted leftovers and so, in a way, she is used to us. In spite of this, she is terrified of humans and will allow NO ONE to pet or touch her. Cowering in terror, Monje whines if you reach your hand in her direction. It's actually quite heart-breaking as clearly she has a history of severe abuse. Sessions with a pet psychiatrist would probably be beneficial for Monje as she is so conflicted over her desire to protect herself and her desire to allow herself to bond with us. She's to the point where she will take food from my hand, but if I slowly reach toward her to pet her, she will immediately cower and cry pitifully. If I call her with my hand extended, she will get close enough to smell my hand, but then become too frightened to take the risk of allowing me to actually make contact. In mental anguish she slinks away, softly crying, and dragging her back feet on the ground! The battle within her as to which she yearns for most, self-protection or connection, couldn't be more apparent.
It hit me one day as I watched Monje agonizing between self-protection and connection, that I have met many people who are like Monje. Some are students at PIBC, some are friends, and others are found on every corner of every continent. Tragically, because they have been wounded and betrayed by those who should have been trustworthy, they cannot comprehend a God who is wholly good, and incapable of evil. One of the reasons we LOVE our work at PIBC, is that we are passionate about helping others discover the true nature of God. PIBC gives us endless opportunities to convey the absolute goodness of God; whether it's communicated through intellectual lectures in a theology class, through practical application in a counseling class, or simply by hanging out with students on the volleyball court, basketball court, or in a dorm room, opportunities abound. And, you cannot imagine the joy we feel as we watch students moving closer and closer to the out-stretched hand of our loving Savior.