Well, it isn’t actually Fathers Day, but the day after, but due to the computer station being so busy, I had to wait! I was packing my toys and candy in preparation to visit the people of a mountainous village, when I ran across a beanie baby teddy bear that was holding a sign that said, “DAD” on it. I gave it to Chris and wished him a Happy Fathers Day! He said, “Thank You, Teresa, I will keep it forever”- then he hook shot it over my head back into the beanie baby box!
We then had devotions and left for our 3 hour trek up the mountains, I being in Dan Smith’s van. We passed through a very poor area down in the valley, with rotting and decaying buildings, stinky sewer, and trash everywhere. It was dark and depressing. But then, the paved roads turned to dirt, and we began to ascend up and around the mountainside. It was so serene, and the view so majestic that I can not describe it with my words, and even my photos will be inadequate. Every new turn brings a more beautiful view of the valley filled with flowering trees and palm leaves. As far as the eye can see, you can see slope after slope. We took one turn and there was a big, puffy cloud like the ones you see on a pleasant, bright afternoon, as we drove right through it! It seemed like we were in an airplane, rather than a van, except for the bumpy roads! The fences were made of a reed like stalk bound together with vines. Whole families sat by the side of this quiet, dirt path, dressed in bright colors, doing nothing but being TOGETHER! I made the comment to Dan that this place seems so romantic and the simplicity and contentment of life here seems so in contrast to the social pressure and perfection we put on ourselves back home. I know I will soon come home to bills, behavior issues, schedules, etc. You have to know me, and how I can deal with anxiety issues, but here is a different story, somehow. I decided right then and there that I would come home and talk Jeff into moving here- I heard that they are in need of a pastor. Maybe Jeff could go to seminary?!? He’s been willing to do every other crazy thing that I have come up with, hasn’t he?!?
Anyway, as the day went on, I was more and more impressed with this village. The children seemed very well cared for, and were sweet and welcoming to us! I enjoyed getting to know Clementine, Marta, Jorge, Carlos Antonio, and the adults were all so nice as well. One man spoke english, and explained that he had crossed the border and worked in the United States for 4 years before returning to his village. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the people with some help of this man.
Next, after the medical clinics were done, we sang and it was time for testimonies, this time there was no hesitation on the part of our kids. Everyone was wanting to share. Nick, Dayton, Dani, Michael, Kim, Micah, Brandon and the intern, Katie all shared. It was so good for the people there to realize that those from the United States have problems just like everyone else. MONEY DOES NOT TAKE AWAY LIFE’S PROBLEMS! After sharing such moving testimonies, Hermano Jesus preached and used the subject of trials and tribulations as the subject of his message. Many, many people were saved- even the men, who looked so stoaic at first. It was such and a heavenly, spirit-filled time. We were the ones to put a physical touch on the Love of God that filled that place. Our white arms around the young and the old. Our affluent, white, privileged, spoiled, educated arms around the simple, poor, forgotten, sick, and uneducated brown people. WoW!
One the long drive home, Dan explained to me that it is not uncommon for the young men to leave their wives and children with good intentions of getting a job in the U.S., in order to make some money to bring back home. The problem is…many do not return to their families.
I guess the lesson that I have learned that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Trials and tribulations are something that draw us closer to our our Lord, and cause us to be able to relate to others, who are in need. But… Our God is Greater, Our God is stronger… He will never leave our side.
Fathers- and everyone else out there back in the U.S.A.- keep on keeping on- God will bless your faithfulness!
Love you All!!!
P.S. Andrew Crawley is the best- he cleaned up Riley Stevens’ puke in the middle of the night- now that is brotherly love! Just for that, I might even let him win in Euchre!