This morning was a great worship experience as we joined Iglesia Del Camino, a bilingual Christian community. Every once-in-awhile I need to be reminded that worship has nothing to do with my preferences - NONE of them! It's not about my taste in music, how efficient or trained the sound tech is, whether the drums are too loud (and you're too old!) or ANY of those things that quite frankly God could not care less about. Worship is about our response TO God, as His people come together to seek Him, honor Him, praise Him, and love each other. And to do that with a community that was incredibly diverse, speaking 2 languages (and probably hosting others) was very special. I'm thankful for those moments today.
This afternoon was a challenge. I remember in the Bahamas the heartbreaking privilege I had of visiting the AIDS Camp, meeting these beautiful people who had been exiled from society in this modern lepers colony. Not since then have I been so moved as I was today going into Hermano Pedro, a home for the physically and mentally ill that has every characteristic of a hospital except for an emergency room and trauma doctors. I met children today who were malnourished, some with clef lip and palette so severe that part of the nose was missing - children whose parents could not financially or physically handle the burden of caring for them. While I would love to show you pictures of what I saw, we were asked not to take photos in the hospital. I didn't know this until after I had taken 4-5, but for that reason I'm not going to post them.
Tonight - God in heaven forgive us - we broke down and went to McDonald's. [I know. We're stupid!] But I am now so glad we did. Forgive me, but this IS the short version. We met a lady on the sidewalk (who initiated conversation with us trying to help us out) and then ran into her again outside the golden arches. Then she helped me out in line again when my horrible Spanish was failing me (I always pronounce "ice" wrong!). On her way out the door she stopped to chat. 30 minutes later we were blessed to know Brandy, hear the story of how God has constantly provided for her and opened doors in her life so that she could be a blessing to children here in Guatemala, and what is on the horizon. Brandy - who's retired military - inherited her father's land and is now planning to build a dorm/beca type building so she can help educate kids and make sure that native Guatemalan children don't wind up forced into the coffee fields because their families can't afford to lose them as wage-free workers. When Brandy was leaving I told her, "I don't believe we met on accident". She told me, "You're the second pastor I've met in this same McDonald's in the last 2 weeks. Evidently not!" While I'm aware that one thing that's evident here is that pastors can make lousy food choices, it's much more evident that the Lord is trying to speak in and through Brandy's life. Would you please join me in praying for her?
Back to Amor del Nino tomorrow, going there to be a blessing to the kids and to Steve and Sheryl. I'm sure we'll wind up being the ones who are blessed!