Tuesday, August 3, 2010
It has been over two weeks since I've been in Guatemala. Oh how I have relished my memories, treasured my stories and wrestled with how to tell you about them. In short - it was an amazing trip and yes, I would go again in a heart beat. Everyone should take the opportunity to "go" and simply be blessed by God for saying "yes" to Him. Go to another country, go to your church's refugee program, go to a person who is sick and take dinner, go, please GO and be blessed more than you could ever give. For information on short term mission trips, visit our church's web site at www.northwestbible.org or talk to someone about ways to get involved in God's work in your neighborhood.
I have so many stories I want to tell and I have three high points where I really saw God that I'll start with. So I'll start here with number 1.
1) The feeding of the 500. Sunday night before our "campamento" started, we invited the small village where we would be working to come and sing with us, eat dinner from the food kitchen and enjoy. Little did we know that the gate that was supposed to close at 6 didn't close until closer to 7 and the entire town had come to eat.
The feeding kitchen, pictured above, was started when Julio (the Northwest supported missionary who lives and works and hosts our group each year) noticed hungry children coming to his church. He didn't want to give free food so he employed their mothers. If the mothers want their children to eat, they must cook. This was women in the kitchen's first time to cook for more than the 75 children they feed each day. Did you hear that - 75 hungry kids are now eating, praise God.
But that night 500 hungry people came out. We didn't know how much food they had in the kitchen, how many drinks, how much more could they churn out? Those of us in the kitchen, at the front of the line that was growing longer and longer were praying and believing the Lord who fed the 5,000 would feed these people too. The food got more sparse, the drink cooler got lower and lower, the line so long. One line was adults and one was children. I stood at the front of the line of children and passed their food to them as it came out. They waited on each plate and I stood there, touched their heads and shoulders and prayed silently "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace." What a privilege to see the faces of God's children and pray for so many of them.
We had to leave before the line ended, we didn't know if they ate. My roommate prayed when we got back to our room that the Lord would feed them. Then we, ironically, went to eat our own dinner and wait to see what God would do. And God did - he fed each person in line and the 10 women cooks in the kitchen. They had just enough for all of the people. Since I'm big on organization and that night was chaos from where I stood, I immediately thought of ways the event could have prevented this from happening. But I realized, when life is so planned out, so set, when do you get to see things like that happen? When do you get to pray so hard and believe a miracle could happen? How often do you get to see the Lord go, "Watch me work, I take care of them just like I take care of you." ?
So when your life is topsy-turvy, your next move unknown, your life insecure, think of it as an opportunity to watch God really show off for you. He will really fight for you when you can't anymore, he will protect you when you feel weak and vulnerable and he will always see your face when you cry, pray, praise, sing to him because HE worked a miracle and you realized it.
The Lord taught me many things but these two stood out. 1) There is great need all around us, people who lack basic needs and 2) He provides for his children through his people. Like Julio, who saw these people through God's eyes, noticed the need and acted. Julio was another hero that night. He was watching the line grow too, knowing some people were in line twice, trying to get more food than they were supposed to and instead of being jaded from 12 years dealing with people who think his views are so controversial, he was compassionate and said to me, "They are here because they are hungry, they just want to eat, we can't turn them away." Praise God for the compassion of Pastor Julio. Did you know pastor in Spanish means shepherd? Do you know someone who needs you to act?
GO in obedience! ACT with compassion! EXPECT with humble hearts to be blessed!