One evening during our devotional time, we discussed the moments we experienced when we knew God’s hand had clearly impacted our lives. Here are some snippets of the moments we have encountered this week:
Dennis (see photo at the bottom of the page) had been surviving the first few days with a nasty cough. Pat (his wife) finally succumbed to the same ailment, and because she was afraid she might infect our students, she decided to stay at the mission house to rest and recuperate. She slept a lot — but every time she woke up, she immediately thought of “La Escuela” and her students and what they might be doing at that moment.
The students missed her terribly and asked about her throughout the day. They were thinking of each other at the same times – they were not coincidences. It was a God moment for Pat!
He was open and inviting and clearly grateful to have Church of the Resurrection volunteers in his church. Dan asked if he would share his testimony with our group and he related his story in Spanish, while Danilo translated for us. The details of how his life had unfolded, brought tears to his own eyes, and rivulets streaming down Anne’s cheeks. She was so moved by the way the Lord had moved in Pastor Daniel’s life, and the way that he answered the call, even though he didn’t feel prepared, or up to the challenge that presented itself. He heard God’s voice, at first replying, “No, send someone else.”
He felt God’s hand on his shoulder – and the rest is history. Four years
later he is leading a growing church and an ever-expanding school. God’s vision, Pastor Daniel’s vision – perhaps now the same, are materializing. What a powerful and moving story – a God moment for our fearless leader, Anne.
Margee described her genuine surprise, and delight, at the welcome she received from the
students and the “construction” crew onsite in Ciudad España. She was
overwhelmed by the hugs and kisses bestowed on her. She truly felt God’s
presence in the embraces, the smiles, and the JOY offered to her by the people
who had never met her, but loved her immediately! That was a God moment
we ALL experienced.
Wayne was struck by how very much Fanny, one of our students, a truly
God-ly mother, wife, teacher, and friend, wanted to show us her home.
The team took a walking tour of Ciudad España after the completion
ceremony. Fanny walked with the team all the way, to point it out, and
then walked back. Once back at the church, she and her three girls once
more walked home. Wayne was moved by the fact that despite what
appeared to be a “life of basic necessities ,” was actually a “life filled with such faith,
hope, and love.” Her example was a God moment for Wayne.
At the close of the ceremony on Friday afternoon, Pastor Daniel charged his teachers
to learn at least one new word or phrase a day. By the end of the year, they would
have learned 365. What a wonderful, positive and confident supposition of the
commitment to continue learning and practicing what they had begun. Dan was
especially touched by Pastor Daniel’s challenge – a God moment of transformation for
our other leader, Dan.
Carrie was a returning volunteer to Ciudad España, having been here last year assisting a
medical team. Admittedly, she felt somewhat insecure and concerned about helping teach
English. During the first few days, she was every bit as valuable as any other member of the
team, but felt less than confident. On Thursday morning, she and Phyllis led a session that
included a Bingo game to teach names of foods, and some role play
activities focusing on restaurant conversations. Carrie had so much fun . .
. . . her transformation was absolutely stunning. We could see God’s light
shining brilliantly on her face. That was a God moment for Carrie, and
also for us to witness the change. She literally “came to life” with such
might and intensity — it was beautiful.
Phyllis experienced a God moment when her small group practiced singing
“Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.” She had been leading the music all week,
but this song prompted Amanda (the school custodian) and Vilma
(the school nurse) to lift their hands to God in praise. Phyllis was moved to
tears watching them offer themselves to the Lord – without embarrassment,
without concern for what anyone was doing at that moment – completely
absorbed and dedicated to praising God. It was a “moment” worthy of tears!
Gary shared that he found himself sitting beside an elderly woman at lunch one day. She asked, in Spanish, “What is a Methodist?” Our translator, Danilo, faithfully turned Gary’s story of the power and glory of God into words she could understand. Gary knew that it had not been a chance meeting; rather God’s plan for Gary to have the perfect opportunity to speak from his heart and impact the life of someone he had never met before.
Perhaps the most inspiring story of God’s impact in our lives came from Anita. We were all so moved by it that it may become part of each of our “elevator stories” of our mission trip. Anita and husband have been sponsoring a young man and she wanted to meet him during the trip. She asked if it could be arranged – and since she had no contact information – the Church immediately offered to get in touch with him or his family. Anita found out in a lunch conversation that was completely unrelated, that his mother had previously worked at the church. Her position was reduced and she was left without a job, a single mother raising three boys. Kevin, the oldest, and the student Anita had sponsored, went through a period when he was forced to attend public school, endure the “gauntlet” of the gangs every day, and eventually got involved with some unsavory friends. His grades suffered, and he was “in need” of help. Anita’s scholarship funds helped him turn his life around, returning to La Escuela de Juan Wesley. He felt responsible for helping to support his family. He found work during the January school break picking tomatoes, but his commute was a four hour bus ride. When the church reached his mother, she promised he would be at La Iglesia Metodista in Cuidad España on Friday. True to her words, Kevin arrived at the church to meet Anita, his sponsor. She had no idea what sacrifices he and his family had willingly made to be there! He gave up a full days’ wages, his mother came to the church simply to help out in any way she could, and both were a blessing for Anita. God put them all together to experience the faith, love, and hope He promises. How cool is that?!