5:15 came around rather early this morning. Yes, you read that correctly. Taylor, Kelly, Mandy, Coach Peck and I voluntarily got up at the crack of dawn. You see, the crack of dawn was our goal. Yesterday was amazing, but we wanted to see the light transition from black to gray and finally to blue. The experience was just as incredible as I had hoped it would be. Being present as the earth takes its first breath in the morning is something I could never tire of. The grass, trees, and sky were gently woken by the sun and we gladly joined in the experience with them.
Today instead of doing our normal softball clinic and crafts in the afternoon, we spent the entire day making house visits and taking food bags to the people of both congregations we have been working with. Although I cannot speak for my teammates, today was by far my favorite day. Today we experience how these wonderful, God-fearing, joyful people live from day to day. All I can say is wow. While I was on my trip in Honduras, we did something very similar to what we did today, but I was still not prepared in any way for what we were about to experience.
Honestly, looking back, I do not even know where to begin to tell you all what we experienced today. But I hear that the beginning is a pretty good place to start, so here we go.
The first house we visited was the home of Pedro and his family. He had recently been in an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. At one point I found myself beside his wife, a woman in her late sixties, I leaned over and told her thank you for letting us into their home. I told her even when we went back to the United States we would continue to pray for Pedro. Next think I know, the woman began crying telling us how thankful she was for our willingness to come to their home to spend just a few minutes encouraging their family. This was the first of many incredible encounters today.
I won’t take you through every house we went into, but I would like to tell you what a visit looked like. We would enter the home and greet everyone (always with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek). We would tell each other about ourselves and ask the family what they would like us to pray for. Then, we would sing two songs for them in English and pray over their family. At one house during our singing of “Nothing but the Blood” the people in the family began singing along with us in Spanish. We spent the next 10 or so minutes singing different songs together simultaneously in two different languages. We could all feel God smiling again.
One thing that blew everyone away was the generosity of the people. We did not leave a house without receiving some sort of gift from the family we visited. We were given pomegranates, papayas, limes, peaches and figs all fresh from the tree along with watermelon fresh from the vine. One family cooked the 14 pizzas we had for lunch (they were FANTASTIC). Another lady, we painted her house earlier in the week, had cooked us a full meal. She was an older lady with three grandchildren in her home and she took the time to cook all 28 of us a full meal. To those of you who have never experienced going in houses in third world countries, I must explain something to you. These people have little to nothing. Most of the homes in which they live are smaller than my bedroom. They have nothing, and yet out of nothing they want to give us everything they have.
The people we encountered today (and this entire week for that matter) are the closest thing to a living embodiment of Jesus Christ that I have encountered in a very long time if not ever. They give freely, love openly and are joyful always. They have so much less than we do, but yet they experience something that so many of us lack; Contentment.
We went back to the church to do our craft for the day. I have one word; bubbles! Then, the hard part came. We had to say goodbye to the kids. It was not easy for anyone involved. I can assure you those kids impacted us in ways so much greater than we could have ever impacted them. Maybe one day they will forget the faces of the softball team that came to paint their church and teach them something about Jesus, but we will never forget the faces of the children who taught us how to love, laugh and truly be a reflection of the light that God shines upon us every day.
We ended our day back by the beach with burgers and grilled pineapple. God likes to show off at the beach. It is something that I will never tire of experiencing.
I struggle tonight putting into words exactly what we experienced today. Partially it is because we are all almost on empty. Mostly it is because what we experienced today was love in its purest form. It was an active love. It was something that was experienced and cherished. I will end tonight by assuring you that in the morning we will leave Colonet with full hearts teary eyes and souls that have been touched and healed by the hands of God himself. I look forward to writing to you from Ensenada.