I am writing to you all tonight, and my heart is so full. So full of joy and wonder. But I suppose I am getting ahead of myself.
Today we began with another wonderful meal of bacon eggs, potatoes, refried beans, and tortillas. We were each given a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice to top it all off. Dressed in our multicolored maxi skirts, we loaded up the vans at 9 a.m. to head to the local church for service. The church building was a slab of concrete with tarps hanging from every side and the roof in order to provide shade. During the service the preacher asked us to sing two songs in English. We sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “Amazing Grace”.
We made lunch for the congregation and enjoyed their company as we ate. Between playing keep away, toss, and tag, we had the kids thoroughly entertained for the next hour. Then, we began our first clinic. The Clinic started with six or seven kids. By the end there were at least thirty. It was so incredible! The language barrier did not matter once the ball and glove were in their hands. Sports are most definitely an international language. We went back to the church in Colonet for a movie with the children. The day was topped off with burgers, homemade salsa, homemade guacamole, and fresh cantaloupe.
I want to take a moment and bring you back to the church service. The wonder with which I am filled began here. I have been to one other church service in my life that was completely in another language. It was my senior year in Honduras. I remember feeling the same way that day as I did this morning. There is something so awe inspiring knowing the people beside you live a completely different life from that of yours, but they worship the same God. The same God who hears our worship and prayers on Sunday mornings in Nashville, TN heard the worship and prayers in Spanish today from the people of Colonet. If that doesn’t instill in you the majesty of our God, I do not know what will.
The preacher was talking about the unity of the church today. He compared the unity of the church to the unity of our softball team. He told us that if we are completely together as one unit, we will be unstoppable. I spoke to JJ after the service. He knows very little Spanish, so my intention was to inform him about what the preacher was speaking. He quickly stopped me and said, “Mac, I got it. It had to be God. I didn’t understand the language, but I knew exactly what the message of the lesson was.”
My friends, that is definitely not the only place we saw God today. We saw God in so many places today I do not have time to write them all down. Instead, I will let a few experiences speak for themselves from the people who encountered them.
KELLY: Kelly kind of sits in the same boat with JJ. She knows little to no Spanish, but by the end of the day she completely realized it did not matter. In her words, “There is one God, and He works in a language far beyond words. He works in a language of love and smiles and laughter, and that made today greater than I could have expected.”
MIMI: Mimi saw God through a similar experience to that of Kelly. At the softball clinic she found a few of the older boys and quickly began seeing how far they could throw a softball (which was REALLY far…these boys were good). Mimi knows very little Spanish, but she said, “The communication was instantly created through the use of sports. It did not matter if we were throwing a softball or kicking a soccer ball, I found a connection with the kids through athletics.”
MANDY: “I should have paid attention in Spanish class.” Mandy saw God directly through the kids. She was amazed that they did not care that there was a language barrier. It did not matter to them if you were almost fluent or only knew one word, “they wanted to love you and be loved by you.”
BAYLEE: I asked Baylee where she saw God today, and her response made me so happy. “Dirt.” That is all she said for a moment, but our blank expressions begged for an elaboration. Here there filed is an old dirt lot with a backstop. But Baylee pointed out that they are playing on dirt just like we do at home. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have grass or fancy bases, the dirt that stains our clothes and burns our knees is the same no matter the country.
We ended our day in the conference room at the hotel (after Alex Ross killed a MASSIVE tarantula). We shared together our favorite Bible verses and where we had seen God throughout our day. I genuinely hope you all are enjoying your journey with us. I can assure you we are enjoying this end. God’s hand is so very evident in this place, these people, and our team.