You would have thought that climbing up the mountain yesterday to Cacoa and worshipping up there with them would have been the pinnacle of the week – but you would have been wrong! Today was very clearly the pinnacle of the week.
While our friends had freezing rain in Roanoke, we went out into dry, dusty 93 degree weather after devotions and breakfast. We took the passenger racks out of the rear of the truck (our ever-ready ‘burro’!), then went down the lane outside of Casa de Shelly and filled it with all the trash we could pick up along the street.
This is how Christ asked us to love our neighbors today.
Then a few of us drove to the garbage dump for Somotillo and unloaded the garbage – and handed out Manna packets to a number of the children who were working through the trash. Near the end, some of their mommas also came out from behind the garbage mounds and we gave a box of Manna packets to them to distribute to some of the others who did not come out to the truck. (I know I was tired today, but it was easier to cry today than any other day.)
A little later, because the local jail gave us permission to speak to the prisoners, we were able to tell them about the love of Jesus as we prepared a pot of soup for them. They are almost completely at the mercy of their family and friends to provide for them; we got the impression the jail would not be giving them very much. As I shook hands with all of them and prayed for them, my closing comment was, “Don’t lose heart; trust the Lord to be able to change the trajectory of a man’s life.” A few of the men literally burst into tears when I encouraged them to not lose heart. There was woman who was being held in a separate cell who had been picked up the night before and our women were allowed back to talk with her. She responded to the gospel. We gave them multiple bowls of soup but still had extra so … back to the garbage dump to hand out the rest of it. Mostly children and one mother were on hand to get a hot bowl of soup.
Our final service opportunity was to drive about 20 km up to the village of OJoche. This is a charming, well-ordered village with good leadership and a strong church. We spent the remainder of the afternoon loving on these people, playing volleyball, stickers and fake moustaches on the children, talking with everyone, serving soup and playing a good, long game of “Cato, Cato, Pero” , a verison of our “Duck, Duck, Goose.” O yeah: and we had a difficult time changing a flat tire which Don says is only the third time in all these years that they’ve had a flat while out on mission.
Our hearts were overflowing as we drove back to Somotillo and I think we unloaded an awful lot of love in each of the last items of clothing and candy that we gave out along the road.
Sometimes God said, “It was good.” But today, “It was very good.” It was a very good day to be on the mission field! Thank-you for your prayer coverage of all that we did today.