Oranges - My first week in Mexico
It's been 10 days since we've landed in Mexico City and it's been a wild, wonderful ride so far. A story that's close to my heart happened last week.
"Team Africa" and our wonderful translators from our host church, Agua de Vida, went to the nearby hospitals to meet people, talk and pray. In Mexico, hospitals are few and far in-between and space and care is extremely limited so it's really common for family and friends to be waiting outside--come sun or rain--for weeks at a time. Armed with a student and a translator, I approached a family waiting outside. They were not from the city but lived far away and were there because their 19 year old daughter was very sick, but with what, they didn't know. We prayed for healing for the daughter, Mariella, and I shared the gospel. There were 5 family members and all received Jesus as their personal savior. Their faces had been sober and tired when we approached but when we left them, there was a softness in their smiles and tears in a few eyes. We left them after some time feeling so happy. A very short time later, the grandmother from the same family found us. She was a sweet old lady in an orange shirt, but I cannot remember her name. She asked us if we had a place that they could stay. They had no where to be in Mexico and no money; they would be spending the night on the street. We didn't know quite what to do and had to say no, they could not stay at the church we were at because they were complete strangers and it wasn't our place to offer. As she walked away I felt a swell of panic in my heart and a holy sort of fear seized me. We had just shared Jesus with these people. They had just made the most important spiritual choice of their lives. And now, before me laid a practical choice. Like a siren in my mind, the words were going off from the book of James. Something like, if you see the needy but all you say is "God bless" and nothing else, your religion sucks. But I didn't know what to do. After some confusion and concern, we discovered that there were hotels nearby and 4 of us chipped in to pay for a room for the family. It was not a lot of money. But it was a huge gesture. We found the family again and with 200 pesos in my fist, I approached the grandmother. I told her "This is a gift from God. You gave your life to Him today and He wants to show His care for you now." Nothing can describe the look on their faces as the family realized what was happening for them. We tried to kind of escape then but the old grandmother in the orange shirt wouldn't let us until she pulled out oranges from a dirty sack and gave one to each of us. It was not a lot. But it was a huge gesture. It struck my heart. 200 pesos is less than 17 US dollars. And a family of 5 will use it to live on. This was such a humbling experience for me. In Norway, I may be poverty level but in most of the world, where the real people are living, I have so much more than I need. It's not enough to just meet people's spiritual cry. We have to let our passion carry us farther. Carry them farther.
Moral of the story.... when you are willing to do more than merely say "God bless!", and let yourself be moved to action...you just might get an orange.
In summary of the past 10 days, over 100 people have prayed to receive Jesus. It's not about the numbers but GOSH, isn't that wonderful! I've preached in the church that's hosting us, for one hour on the Fear of the Lord. This was an awesome challenge for me and I had a great time doing it. I know God wants me to be speaking and teaching more and while I'm nervous, I know that there's time to grow and He'll never throw me over my head. We as a team are unified and I'm so impressed with the students and their eagerness to just go for anything and everything. We've seen people getting healed. We've shared Jesus with about a hundred kids whose parents can't or won't take care of them. And so much more.... God is doing such great things and I'm just happy to be a part of it. All I can ask for is prayer for myself, I'm in the process of applying for some opportunities this summer and fall and there seems to be hardly any hours in the day for "normal life" stuff like that. Pray that I would have wisdom and do what God wants me to do, not what I or others want for me. For my team, please pray that we continue to be unified and are simply walking in the Spirit.