Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Restoration Story - Part 2

This week marks the one year anniversary of launching Redeemer's House International. As we look back over the year, I want to share a couple of stories that are shaping how we serve the poor in Guatemala. Here is the story of Casimero and Maria.

Casimero, Maria and their three daughters. (Their son is not pictured)

In October of last year, there was a terrible tropical storm that dumped 9 days of continuous rain on Guatemala. The river in Panajachel was raging, boulders were tumbling downstream and mud was sliding down the mountains. The river exceeded its normal banks and swept several homes away. 

Casimero, his wife Maria and their four children lost their home in the flooded river. They live next to the river because Casimero works in the river. He sifts sand and rocks in order to sell for construction projects. It is hard and sometimes dangerous work.

At RHI, we primarily work with single moms and their children, because they are the most vulnerable. Casimero & Maria are an exception for us. They lost everything in that storm. It did not go unnoticed by the Lord. He has heard their prayers and he has answered. He has sent the help and encouragement they so desperately need.

Materially speaking, they don’t have much. Their family of six lives in one room that spans 10 x 12. They have no electricity, no running water. Their house is built of wooden slats and old corrugated lamina. They usually cook over a wood burning fire outside. BUT - they have each other - and that goes a LONG way. Having an intact family with a dad who cares for and loves them, makes all the difference in the world.

Cutie Pie!!

Spiritually speaking, they have wealth beyond most. Visiting their home is like going to worship the King of Kings in a cathedral. When you enter this humble abode, the light of Christ and the warmth of his love permeates all darkness. They have such a generous heart of hospitality. 

Generally when we visit, they run to the tienda to buy a Coke Cola. They don’t buy Pepsi or Super Cola - they know we are from Coke Town (Atlanta). They buy the most expensive soda available because they want to bless us. It humbles us, but what a blessing to feel the joy of their home and share a cold drink. Some would prefer they not spend their hard earned money on something so extravagant. They would prefer to bring the Coke with them or refuse. Doing that would deny them the opportunity to be generous. It would not give honor and dignity to their home. It would only add to the shame of their humble circumstances. In this case, it is better to receive rather than give.

Ice cold Coca Cola on a steamy hot day! Ahhhhhh!

We have had several opportunities to make minor improvements to their home. We helped them get windows, build a front porch and put new lamina on the front. We helped dig and build a new latrine. These are wonderful blessings that they cannot provide for themselves, but it’s not the greatest good we can do in their lives. 

Replacing wooden slats with corrugated metal siding.

Maria has had some health issues this year. There was a time when her body did not seem to be getting well and her spirits were very low. What a privilege it was for me to sit with her, listen to her laments and encourage her as a sister in Christ. She needed medicine for her body that day, but her spirit needed something more. It needed to see, hear and feel God with skin on. She needed to know God sees her, he hears her, he has sent help. Her spirit needed to know that she is not alone in this world. She has a Father who loves her beyond measure and she has a sister in Christ that comes in the name of the Lord to serve and to bless. It was wonderful to be able to meet her physical need for medicine, but it was an honor and joy to minister to her spirit. Once again I realize our purpose here has more to do with BEING present in relationship instead of doing anything.

Maria enjoying a day by the lake!

I know we have received far more than we have given Casimero and Maria. We see a stark contrast in their family from the other families we serve. A dad makes a big difference. We visited their home the day before we left for our trip to the US. Maria told us they are overwhelmed with gratitude for our family and our help. Casimero hasn’t had much work this month and she couldn’t prepare a going away meal or a small gift for us. Instead, she sang a hymn over us. “Dios cuidara de ti” God will watch over and care for you on your journey. There is NOTHING in this world she could have given us that would mean more than to have God’s love and care sung over our family through our journey. Absolutely priceless.

1 comment:

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