Wednesday, June 6, 2012

GUATEMALA 2012: (12) Beanies in the Bible?

The morning broke the night with beauty. Last evening was an incredible moment of sharing and reflection with the team over coffee as the night sky flashed over Pacaya. We have hit the sweet spot of the week where the team now acts as an organism and our goals are clear.

Team four walked across the stacked rock entrance to our work site and began by deconstructing a wall that gave us difficulty last evening. I walked to Team Three and drafted Ramero… I asked him for a consult! Soon we had made the needed adjustments and the day opened up as we worked into the afternoon by delaying lunch.

As we walked away at the end of the day’s work I turned and snapped the picture above. We had completed the entire frame of the house, 2 exterior walls, and the wall that separates the bedrooms. Today we met our construction goal and made up for our difficult start. We walked away with smiles and celebration.

Today was a great day… and now I will tell you why.
We brought gifts with us for the children. In the past we have done massive give aways with the village (and we will still do that too) but this time we decided to make it more personal by selecting gifts specifically for the children whose homes we were building.

About a decade and a half ago I was an obsessed Beanie Baby collector. I would drive for hours to search for a specific plush. I scoured the internet and would pay over suggested retail price to possess a unique bear or animal. Over the years I had amassed over $1000 worth of Beanie Babies. I had the Princess Di Bear, Good Luck Bear, and even the original Brown Bear, among many others. For the past 7 years they have been sealed in a box. I rediscovered them last month as we were packing to move.

I was standing in the basement thinking how foolish of me it had been to spend time on that pursuit. And suddenly, I knew what I should do…
And so, today I along with some 30 other team members placed Beanie Babies in the hands of children in the village of Labor de Falle, part of Cerro Alto, Guatemala. I am still the goof that paid far too much for toys, and yet… the smiles and laughter I worked among all day was without a doubt more valuable that anything money could buy-- simply and truly priceless.

I also had a hat collection, and tonight those hats are riding along the dark hair of boys up and down those mountain paths. Each of them was interested to learn the source of the hat as I told them which state I had purchased them in over the past 20 years of my life.

It really is amazing how we live with treasure packed in our homes and somehow have no concept of its worth. Our lives are rich. We have much to offer. I believe that this makes us accountable and responsible. I think the more we have, the more we can do.

And so, I sit beneath the portrait of Mimi tonight here at Catalyst Resources in San Cristobal. I have that incredible mid week feeling of exhaustion and happiness. Everything is made so much more special for me as I experience it with the realization that this will soon be part of my everyday life.
I think of Kellie, Aleksandra, and Sterling back home. I watch Caleb as he continues to discover the passion and the deep meaning of our faith in this place. I can see him also letting go… of fears, of attachments, of possessions. What is available to us by God is so much more. Somehow it is easier to see Him when we have less stuff that hinders.

This is everything. This is our forever. This is our religion. Our God is with us. Beanie Babies, hats, & laughing children. The thankfulness in the eyes of a mother who works harder every day than any of us ever has… and yet is unable to feed her children. There is something powerful in meeting that need. There is a quiet exchange where God stands in the middle and you realize…

…this isn’t about you. This isn’t even about them. It isn’t about poverty. It isn’t about need.

It is simply about God. Can you see him in the midst?

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