Today the team returned to the village where they had built the home. They finished putting together some furniture, and had a dedication of the home, and fed the community. It was REALLY hard to say
“Good-bye”, both for our team, and for the family that they built the home for. In just a few short days, they had made a bond that surpasses human understanding. This is a bond so much deeper than what would ordinarily be made in a few days. It seems like the same kind of bond that people make when they go through a crisis together, like random people stuck on n elevator for 3 days, but this was far from crisis! It is almost a “reversal of crisis”.
This family was in crisis, kind that we here in the United States rarely know. They (the mother and the grandmother) not only had to make decisisons like “do we go and spend $20 for the medication for the handicapped child, or do we buy food for the other children”, they also had to worry about the handicapped child wandering off. They only had an opening for a door, in their previous home, that had a sheet over the door. The boy had the tendancy to wander off. Once the police had picked him up and he wound up in an orphanage that our teams frequent. They thought that they had lost him forever. Now they have a home, with a door that they can lock at night when they are asleep, and not worry about waking up and him being gone!
The grandmother told one of our team members, (with the help of a translator) that they thought they had lost the boy forever. They had been so frightened that they would never see him again. In reality, God used the boy being lost to bring attention to the conditions that the family was living in, to get them the help that they so desperatly needed. Had Starfish Orphan Ministry, and our missionary friend not heard from the government about this family, we could not have helped them. The very difficult time, that the family went through, thinking they had lost their boy, was the very thing that God used to get them the help! HOW AMAZING is out God!
How often in our lives do we think that things are truly awful, but God uses them for our good? He uses those times to mold us, to shape us, to guide us to the good that He has for us, like He did for this family. Now this family has an ample supply of medicine that the boy needs, they have a new home, their home has locks on the windows and doors, that will protect them, and the boy with special needs that wanders. Them and their community have been loved on, and they have seen the love of God in tangible ways. They saw it with every drop of sweat that the team dripped (and I understand from the team that there were THOUSANDS). They heard it in the Bible story about Jonah, where our men and teenagers were willing to humble themselves to dress up with tablecloths on their heads, to hold the attention of children and adults that were SO anxious to hear the story! They experienced it as the team poured their hearts out to this group of neighbors. They tasted Gods love in the food that was givein to them by our team.
We are told in Matthew, Chapter 25 that whatever we do for “the least of these”, we are actually doing for HIM! Our team had the honor oft serving HIM in a precious, intimate way these last few days, and I know that each of them grew in that experience!
To follow suit of a popular commercial ad campaign : Cost of a mission trip to El Salvador – aproximately $1400. . . . Value of the experience and the renewed understanding of what’s important in life. . . . PRICELESS!