Over the past few weeks, I have tried to summarize what we have been up to, and all the activities we have been a part of. However, there are some special people, and special moments that have taken place that really stand out in my mind. I wanted to write a little bit about each of the situations where we saw God working in ways we never could have imagined. The last night Colleen was here, we put together a list of eight stories, that really stood out to us, and touched our hearts.
Here are the first four…
1. Clato’s Son-If you follow this blog, or the work we have been doing here, you have probably heard us mention Clato. He is a man who a mission team came and built a house for. Over the past two summers, Colleen’s group has played a huge part in completing the house for Clato and his family, so naturally Colleen was excited to go visit the family, and see the house all done. Before we left for our visit, Colleen and I put together a bag of clothes for Clato’s family, and another bag to bring, just incase we saw someone who needed some clothes. One of the things we put in our “spare bag” was a pair of men’s flip-flops. They were pretty large, and we even thought twice about bringing them, because it is rare to see someone with big feet here, but we figured, you never know! Once we got to Clato’s, we gave his family the bag of clothes, and spent some time visiting with them. A couple of minutes later, his son came outside to say hi, and at the exact same time, Colleen and I looked at each other, and said, “the shoes”! We both noticed that he had large feet and that his current flip-flops were falling apart. She ran to the truck, grabbed the shoes, and we gave them to him. He was very excited with the new shoes, and changed into them right away. Colleen and I were both near tears just seeing his smile and realizing it wasn’t by accident that we brought those shoes with us. Even in something as small as choosing what clothes and shoes to bring, God was at work! It was definitely a touching moment for us!
2. The pregnant lady-In July when Colleen was here, one of the ladies who lives in an area where we work, shared with us that she was pregnant. Over the past couple of months, this lady has always come around when we do any activities, and brings her kids to spend time with us playing soccer, or attending VBS. She is always one of the first people there, listening to all we are saying, and watching all that we do. After VBS one day, she came up to me and thanked me for teaching her kids stories and songs about Jesus. I thought it was really nice of her, because none of the other parents thanked us, and we weren’t really expecting anyone to. As Colleen and I were sorting clothes to handout, I came across a few nice baby items, and mentioned I was thinking of making up a little package for her. The only thing was, I was afraid that someone else would see, and get angry that she was getting more than them, so I told Colleen I was going to give it some thought. The following sunday in church, who do we see, but “the pregnant lady”! She had never been in my church before, so seeing her there was a surprise. I knew at that moment that I had to find a way to give her that baby gift. A few weeks later when we went to her area, once again, she was among the first to arrive, and the last to leave. When everyone started going their separate ways, I called to her, and told her to come to the side of our truck. Then I pulled out the gift bag and I could tell she was shocked. I explained that it was for her baby, and she smiled so big! She could not believe that someone who didn’t even know her name, was giving her a baby gift. She walked away with her kids I could see her smiling, as her kids were trying to look inside the bag. It was definitely a moment I will never forget. It may have been a bunch of “used” stuff, but for her it was probably the only baby gift she was ever given. I was so thankful that it worked out that I could give it to her!
3. Antonio-One night, we spent a few hours preparing rice and beans to hand out. When we were all done, we didn’t have too many extra bags of food, so we hoped it would be enough. We had a few older bags of rice left from last a few months ago, but they weren’t in great shape, so we didn’t know if we wanted to hand them out or not. We put that rice aside and figured we’d decide what we were gonna do with it in the morning. The next morning, Antonio, one of Adan’s friends that he sometimes works with, came to talk to him. He shared that a few days earlier, he was injured pretty badly. He had been working with a machine that cuts metal, when a disk that spins around came off, and cut him in the neck. If it had been about an inch over it would have killed him. He was telling Adan about how he had to spend the little bit of money that he had, at the hospital to get stitches, and how he wouldn’t be able to work for a while. He was thankful to be alive, but concerned because he didn’t know where he would get the money to buy food over the next few weeks. Adan thought about those older bags of rice from the night before, and knew immediately what we were supposed to do with them. Adan sent him home with enough food to last him over a week. He was so thankful for our help. He didn’t come looking for us to give him that food, but he was certainly grateful that we did!
4. Maria-At the beginning of Colleen’s six-week trip, we went to a community by the river to hand out clothes. Last week, we returned to that area to bring things like, toothpaste, soap, and shampoo to the families there. Down at the bottom of the hill, there are a few houses in what is almost like a ditch. One lady who lives down there, is Maria. She is an elderly woman, who cannot walk. She has no way to leave her house, and even if she had a wheelchair, it would be impossible to get her out, because of the location of her house. When Esther and Colleen went to bring her the stuff, she got very emotional. She shared with them how just the day before she had been wishing we would come back, and bring her some pants. The mosquitos are bad near the river, and she was getting bit on her legs. Dengue, a disease that mosquitos can carry, is a big problem here, and in the areas near the water, they are at a higher risk of getting the virus. Untreated, it can be life-threatening, so this is a big concern for her. We didn’t have any pants with us, but she does have one pair, so they told her that next time we would make sure she gets some. She was sharing with the girls that she feels down sometimes, being stuck in her house. She was feeling like God had forgotten her, then we came and she began to feel hopeful again! The girls encouraged her, and explained that we have not forgotten her, and surely God has not either! They were able to pray with her, and by the time they left, she was feeling much better. We are planning to go back to that area next month, and will be sure to bring some pants to her.
These are just a few of the amazing things that God has done here. We are so thankful that He has allowed us to be a part of these people’s lives, and bring His love and hope to them. Sometimes it shocks me, how God can use a regular, weak, sinful person, like me, to carry out His perfect, wonderful plan!
The continuation, Special Stories~Part 2 will be coming this weekend, with four more examples of how God is at work in, El Salvador, so please check back!