Day Two was filled with a combination of a building project, home group visits, and evangelism in a poor area….and all with the most striking stories of hope, faith, and the Lord’s strong hand…
We broke up into three teams for the morning/early afternoon sessions.
There was a hearty group of men who visited a family of 5 who lived in what could only be described as a “holistic” shanty. Two walls that might have been pushed over by one of the children and loose boards covered with sparse tarp for a roof. They spent a good 4 hours reframing and reinforcing the roof/walls in order to work on getting them in safe/livable tomorrow.
One group went with Jeanette to visit their developing church small groups and to hear more of their testimonies and lives, offer encouragement, and pray for each one’s marriage, family, and business.
Our third group went out with Carlos to a poor area he had begun to visit and talk to the people who live there. Carlos, myself, and two teenage girls went from room to room to say “hola” and talk to the people about their lives….what an experience! The striking image for all of us was how ecstatically joyful in the Lord each of these people were, despite their hardships, worries, and hang ups.
We met Maria, an 80 year old woman who lived alone and sold sundry goods from her seat in her doorway. She has arthritis and is diabetic, yet praised God for giving her exactly what she needs each day to see the next sunrise….
Then we were invited into a family of 9’s home….to sit and talk…Carlos shared his powerful testimony with the family and then we listened as the mother told us that he husband (who was standing with her nodding) used to beat her badly….until he went to the closest church 4 miles away….He met Jesus that day and has not beat her since….their marriage is wonderful and would love to have a closer church since it is so far to travel with 7 children….wonderful prayers of healing and grace followed.
Our last stop was the most extraordinary…we were invited to the home of Darwin and Rosita. Darwin is an artisan who carves the most beautiful fowl and fish ornaments from the shell of the “Tagua” fruit. He uses the profits from selling them on the street to purchase Vegetable seeds for his wife’s garden to augment their diet….very smart businessman.
Each of these people, leading what we as north Ameican’s would consider desolate lives, are so loving, giving, and joyful for those who care enough to hear their stories that each of us cried tears of happiness for our Lord who sees to their needs each day.
As we asked Ashley and Nicole to describe their impressions of the experience, they both said that these people have the kind of Joy in the Lord that most in American churches only know from what they read in the Bible, but never experience on a personal level…..God at work again…teaching the next generation of leaders! I find it absolutely a God thing that two American “millennials” could, by experience, come to the same conclusion that Eric Bonhoffer did after visiting the American Churches before WWII. God is good!!
The afternoon was spent in what I would call “Circus” soccer with the local 5 – 12 year olds….disorganized and still a wonderful way to love the local children at the same time. We are all very tired, and so full of excitement about tomorrow….
Dios Te Amo, Steve Kollman