Day 4-Posted by Brad
In the early years of my marriage, my wife and I would walk out of a grocery store and see an elderly person who needed help with their groceries. Holly and I both had the same instinct…help. Holly would instinctively go help right away. I wanted to, but a thousand reasons would stop me. Maybe they will think I am going to steal their groceries? Maybe they will think I am dangerous? A thousand reasons not to act! I wonder how many opportunities I missed to help someone?
Today, we were getting ready to build the chicken coop for Viviana. As we stood looking out across a cornfield, we noticed a huge amount of smoke pouring out of a nearby house. It was obvious they had a wood fire burning in their house to cook with. It was coming out of every small or large opening. I took some video from a distance. I heard one of the guys comment that someone should go over and get a closer video. The thought immediately jumped into my head that I should go over and get a closer look. My heart broke for the people we all knew were inside breathing that smoke. The thought also jumped into my mind that I should not go. Maybe they will not want me to come over? Maybe they will be offended that I want to see the kitchen?
I chose to do what I knew was right. I walked over to John Mitchell and asked if he was interested in walking to the house with me. He said that sounded great. John had just earlier purchased two big boxes of gum for kids. I suggested we take a bunch of gum over to give to the family’s kids. We walked over and knocked on their gate. One of the little kids opened up, and we began giving them gum. The mom came to the gate and we gave her gum as well. I commented (in Spanish) that I liked their chickens that were running around. I motioned over to the work site where we were installing a chicken coop. I asked if I could take pictures of their chickens (we were in!!!) We asked about the smoke and if we could see their kitchen (cocina). She graciously allowed us to look. We went inside and it was so smoky. You can see by the picture the amount of soot on the walls. Imagine their lungs! I began asking questions, and she said her husband was a “vet-o” (or something like that). I told John, “I think she is telling me her husband is a vet”. It didn’t seem right, but maybe he just worked with animals. We spoke a few more minutes about her kitchen and then went back to the work site.
I immediately found Chris and said that I felt we needed to go back over. I wanted to see if he was interested in possibly installing a stove, and if there was anything else he felt Bethel could do. When we got over to the house, Chris began asking her questions. It turns out her husband is NOT a Vet, but a diabetic (and I thought my Spanish was getting so much better!) Anyway, she said that he was an alcoholic, but his diabetes forced him to stop drinking (one of the few times I would say “praise God for diabetes”). She had four children with her. One was a girl named Jackie, who was 14 years old. She had another daughter who was 8, and two younger boys. Jackie said that she had gone to school for four years, but had to stop going two years ago due to money. You could see in her eyes she wanted to go. Chris asked her, and she said yes, she did want to attend. Chris asked about the 8 year old, and the mom said she would like her to go, just no money. Chris looked at the mom and said, “OK, go register them today”. In a shockingly fast sequence of events, Chris instructed the mom what she needed to do. I gave her the money necessary to pay the registration fees for both. We also gave her some extra money to ensure the money was not used for something else. I went and got backpacks for the kids. We also gave them a bag of food. It turns out the dad was working. When he is not too sick, he buys pies at a bakery and sells them to restaurants.
Before we left, I looked at Jackie and said that God truly does hear prayers. That He brought us to their house today, and He is giving her a great gift. That I have a 13 year old daughter, and I wanted her to succeed just as much as I want my daughter to. That her finishing school will allow her to help her family. I gave them a Bible, and told Chris to tell her that she needs to learn to read in school, and begin to read the Bible to her family.
We left them, and Chris was beginning to work on the details of raising support for them. One of the men on the team felt led to sponsor the two kids. So, both kids start school in the morning. The dad returned from work, and came to see Chris. The dad was hesitant to let them, as it would mean he may need to spend some money. Chris told him that if he would help pay for her traditional clothing she would need, Bethel would do the rest. The dad agreed, and it was done. Chris later told us that Jackie was jumping and dancing at her house. She was going to school again!!!
All of this is to say that we should follow what God puts on our hearts more often. I am sad at the opportunities I have probably missed over time. But, I am committing to myself to follow God’s lead, and let Him do the work, I am just the servant.
The chicken coop took a lot longer than we thought. We didn’t have specific building plans so we went through a lot of trial and error. Rick had some great ideas, and it helped tremendously. He suggested 5 gallon buckets for the egg laying. In the end, we will build somewhat differently tomorrow. The place we will build is much windier. We are going to build a “mini-house” for their coop. Sheet metal, just like the home we built the other day. It should be MUCH FASTER.
Juan’s wife “Anna” brought us some delicious fruit today while we worked. She did that for us 5 trips ago when we were here with the Wheeler’s team. There is nothing like fresh watermelon when you are working hard outside. Thanks Anna!
We finished the evening by going to church. It was a praise, prayer and worship service. Pastor Juan preached, and we praised God a lot! There was a young man who came forward to say that he was backslidden in his faith, and had been angry at God. But, he wanted to re-commit himself to God. We went forward and prayed for, and over this young man and several others. It was an amazing time of prayer! Wow, very different than what happens in our typical church service in America!
I want to wish Tim Turek Happy Birthday. 25 years old…who would have thought!
We pray for all of our family’s health and well-being at home. We are all doing great here, and praise God for the opportunities He is providing!!!
Dios te Bendiga,