Monday, July 28, 2014

I'd like to introduce you to "my top four"

I've been back home for over 24 hours now, doing things Americans do without thinking twice: flushing toilet paper, taking a warm shower, have clean cold ice water, throw away excess food. Comforts I have that most of the world does not.  The people I saw, touched, and served in Nicaragua have wrecked my heart.  Wrecked my heart in a good way!

I often get "you are such a good person for going and serving others".  I can't even begin to explain how indebted I am to those I serve.  They have changed me for good.  They have set my life perspective in balance.  They have shown me what is really important.  I am humbled beyond words to be able to serve, touch, pray and just be with these precious people.

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't get four women in particular off my mind.  The good thing about that time of the morning when sleep escapes me, is that I can lay there and pray for them.  Just thinking of them is not enough.  These are the four that crowd me out of myself.

Maria.  Sweet Maria.  I started sponsoring this little girl 5 years ago when she was just 9 years old.  She lived in a dump..... literally the Managua city dump.  She was left alone a lot and was in danger of a life of prostitution and certain early motherhood.  She is now 14 and will celebrate her Quinceañera in October.  She goes to school, has a home with 26 sisters, has food and is safe.  I am so proud of her. She is the little light that finds me every time I am there.  I love her.

This is Candita.  She is 73 and has diabetes that confines her to a wheelchair.  She was so grateful to God for what she has. She has a supportive family and grandchildren who adore her.  She was thankful to have us sit with her, hear her story and pray over her.  Life in a wheelchair in her surroundings isn't easy.  She wants to walk again.

This is Jośe's grandmother. I'm sorry I didn't get her name, but I still pray for her.  She has been staying at the hospital shelter with her grandson for 2 years while they wait for a new kidney for Jośe.  He is a darling boy who played with Samantha much of the time we were there.  It's a place where we noticed there were no toys around to occupy children.  The love and sacrifice she has for Jośe is shadowed by the sadness she wears on her face.  I'm praying against the odds of him dying before a transplant takes place.

This is my new "sister" Haydee.  The night my team met her she poured out her story to us for an hour. She would cry as she spoke and our delayed response caught up as her story was translated. She has been battling cancer for 4 years and lost her leg a few weeks ago.  The physical pain she endured during the actual amputation was almost to much for us to listen to.  At the same time her gratitude for Jesus was astounding!  Two days later we went back to see her and found joy where we didn't see it earlier.  She was in the front of her house out of bed, in a wheelchair, wearing a dress we had brought her.  We brought pizza, set up chairs, a table with candles and hung handmade paper garland.  When told this is how American's celebrate someone she cried.  She told us she had been praying for God to bring her family so she wasn't so alone.... and he brought her 10 sisters.  I got to teach her to knit, which she picked up in 10 minutes!  If we wouldn't have returned to celebrate her, she would haunt me, but I am so joyful every time I think of her.

These are just MY "four".  I know that the other ladies on my team each have their "four".  And every person that travels to the Villa Esperanza with Forward Edge has their "four" too.  There is no way you can go and not be changed in some form.

In the next month I will be scheduling dates for next summer and then will be asking people to sign up in the fall.  With an early commitment you can schedule your summer around this one week AND you can start saving money or fundraising.  If you have EVER considered going, I encourage you to just jump on.  Really!  Take a step of faith and come with me.  I love to see the amazement through others eyes!

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