Our visitors from Faithbridge Church in Houston headed out to bless our neighbors at the farm. Read about their experience:
Traveling along a winding, narrow, sometimes steep path in the mountains surrounding
the farm in El Salvador, our team was anxious to meet the neighbors where we had been working all week. Many of us had anticipated a stroll down the nearby street with houses all in a row, so we were unprepared for the adventure ahead of us. Thankfully, our guide led the way, or we’d still be in the mountains, bewildered as to which way to turn to find our way back.
The first greeting we received was from chickens, followed by some very thin dogs, and finally, a small, somewhat perplexed woman. Whitney explained in a sweet manner, befitting her gentle nature, who we were and why we had
come to call. The lady welcomed us, smiled, and offered us a place to sit and rest as if she had been hoping we would come and was thankful that we had finally arrived. After a short stay and as we walked away to continue our journey, I thought to myself that she was probably more
pleased with the joy-filled people who took the time to stop by for a visit than the gifts of flour, sugar, rice, and beans that we left behind.
On we traversed into the seldom-traveled territory on the outskirts of the farm. At one
point, we met a mid-wife who was not only cordial, but generous to her neighbors who
were not home. As she explained, they were two single moms who would welcome the
sustenance we could provide. She led the way to be sure we knew how to reach their homes and pointed out where we could safely leave the food.
Soon, we reached a family’s dwelling. The first home belonged to a cute, very tiny, old couple whose warmth bubbled into our spirits like the steam from a freshly baked loaf of bread. They were beaming with pride as they introduced us to their two daughters, one with a baby and toddler in tow; the two families live in two little places close to their parents. Even though their homes were simple, their hearts were huge and gracious. They will always have a special place in our memories, I’m sure.
We even had the good fortune to visit a clean, inspirational school operated by two proud, vivacious teachers. The children were solemn at first, but Matthew, a gregarious 13-year-old in our group, got them laughing, and one school boy pointed out all the Central American countries on a student-made, 3-dimensional model. I could have stayed all day.
That morning before we had embarked on our journey, some of us had memorized a few words in Spanish: Dios este contigo! (God be with you!). One of us whispered these good wishes to many of the people we encountered along the route. They may have thought our accents were strange, but in their eyes, we saw that we had connected with them through the spirit of God.
We visited with many other wonderful people that day, and not one of them seemed
bothered by the intrusion into their lives. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us in
America would welcome unexpected guests, much less strangers, into our homes with such grace.
At our last prayer time together at the hotel, Gary read from the book of James 1:22: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself. Do what it says.” I have a feeling that our team members are looking for opportunities to “do” what the Lord wants us to do because he showed us first and what a simple act of kindness could produce.
By Jeanne Van Tiem