Day 4. I am not entirely sure how that is possible, but let me tell you. It sure has been a good one.
From the first day I discussed the plans for this trip with James, I have looked forward to benevolence work with the local church. I have been on a few mission trips in my time, and this is undoubtedly my favorite part every single time.
The reason why can be summed up in one word: stories. Stories that breed relationships. Each family, each person, has a story to tell. We have the wonderful opportunity as we take them their food bags to stand and listen.
This morning we got into the car with Ronnie and made our way to the church where Granny White has done most of their building projects over the years. We picked up the preacher’s wife, and she directed us from house to house as we made our way to visit six different members of their church community. At each house we dropped off a bag of food to feed a family of four for two weeks. We sang. We prayed. And We listened.
I want to tell you the stories of 3 specific members we visited.
The first house we visited was the home of a man named Carlos. He lived with his wife and their three sons. The Holy Spirit’s presence in Carlos’ life was so very evident. While we were with him, he constantly told us how thankful he was that we were taking time out of our lives to come spend a week with our brothers and sisters in Mexico. We asked Carlos if he had anything to say before we left, and he said something that I will never forget. He said, “Life as a Christian can be hard. We have to fight for what we believe in, and it can be hard. But Jesus, Jesus did the hardest thing of all, and because of that, we get to spend eternity with Him one day.” I was struck so strongly by this man who stood in a tiny house off a dirt road and worked tirelessly to every day to provide for his family. To us Carlos has a tough life to live. But to Carlos, his life is all joy because he has the opportunity to glorify the one who gave it all. He finished by telling us this: “God give us more than that which we could even think to ask for.”
The third house was the home of an older lady named Lucina. Lucina talked very quickly and very quietly, so I often looked to the preacher’s wife to repeat what she had said so that I could translate it correctly. We began wrapping up our time with her when she suddenly asked us to come inside of her home. To give you an idea of the size of her home, our thirteen person group could not physically all fit inside at the same time. We came inside and looked toward the far wall and smiled. I was about to ask her what she was smiling at when I turned toward the wall. On the wall of her kitchen was written a handful of scriptures, all in different sizes, some in English, some in Spanish. She was so proud of this wall of the word of God. She then asked me to pray. We had already prayed with her outside, but she wanted her home to literally be filled with the spirit of God as we joined together in prayer. It was an incredible moment.
The fourth house was an older lady named Mijbala. Her home was packed with pictures of her family and a two month old puppy running around meeting us all. I was immediately struck by the joy of this woman. It seemed that every little thing that occurred was a reason for Mijbala to stop and smile or laugh. Mijbala was baptized in November of 1978, and she has been a faithful member of the church ever sense. Before we left I asked her one question: “How would you describe your walk with Jesus?” She smiled for a moment and then uttered a single word: Bella. Beautiful.
She was right. Our walk with God is beautiful, and tonight was nothing less than that.
Every night I am amazed by the time when we have free time to play with the children before bed. I know I have said it before, but the laughter is something I cherish so greatly. I sat back for a moment and just watched. I couldn’t help but think, this is what heaven is going to be like.
I also need to mention that today was Jose, our sponsor child’s, birthday! We threw him a soccer themed birthday party for him and all of his brothers. We had cake, ice cream, and pizza! The best part was watching him open his presents. We got him a soccer ball, two goals, a Hulk water bottle, and most importantly, a genuine Real Madrid soccer jersey. He lit up like a Christmas Tree when he took it out of the bag. It was such a special moment.
Tonight before our singing, Coach Tillman took us through another moment of asking “Where did you see God today?” We probably talked as a group for 45 minutes or more just about how and where we saw God throughout the day. I do not have the time to tell you all of them, but He is moving in powerful ways among this mission team and among the people in The City.
Tonight my cup of thankfulness is overflowing. I am thankful for every person on this team, and I am thankful that God carefully orchestrated us being here together at this exact time.
Posted on Wed, May 31, 2017
by James Lane