This group has kept the airline industry profitable over the past 48 hours. Nearly 40 volunteers have gathered from 4 separate states, arriving from multiple airlines and airports and gathering at Mimi's House over the past 6 hours. At this moment, the lights are out and all are settled in for the team's first night in Guate. I smile every time I think of the predestined wakings of their first morning! I wonder what will get them first: the abnormally loud screaming birds, the roosters, firecrackers, unexplained industrial percussion, car alarms, traffic noises, or maybe even a Mariachi Band?
What I can tell you is that this team has already made a lasting impact. The patio is congested and the tables are bowing with the weight of their donations. Plans are locked in for: 4 homes to be constructed, Bible Schools to be taught, people to be triaged, glasses to be distributed, food to be given, services to be held, lunches must be packed, and many dishes will need to be scrubbed.
Lives are about to be forever changed. This seems to be the exchange: needs are supplied with planning, and lives are changed by unexpected God moments. This place has a way of breaking down people to their basic desires. We want to have meaning. We want to make a difference. We want to be connected to something bigger than ourselves.
At the heart of it all... we all seek the exchange of love. We want to lay our heads on our pillows at night and release consciousness into the place where our actions measured up to our belief. A trip like this is powerful... and it always changes people. You simply cannot walk away the same person as before. These experiences are bought with the currency of accountability. When we are confronted with circumstances that change our paradigm, our hearts either break and reform, or become hard.
It all comes down to how we respond to what we encounter. There will be great beauty in this week... and each person will also find that moment that stops their breath. How do you react when you see a sick child silently crying on a heap of garbage? How can you not feel the weight on your soul when a disfigured young boy grabs your hand with a smile on his face and wants to be your shadow? How do you reconcile the waves goodbye as your vehicle stirs up the dust that will coat their malnutritioned bodies as you speed away to your delicious meal and warm bed?
You lie in your bunk at night and you begin to understand the immense responsibility you have as you engage in the blessings of your life and make claim to worship the God who died for your sins.
When we come face to face with the real message of Christianity, we are often completely overwhelmed. There is no power greater on earth. When you stare suffering in the eye and you experience what it means to ease that pain... it changes how you think about everything.
This is the heart of our belief. Helping those who owe us nothing. This is our own experience. We are all orphans who have been offered an inheritance undeserved by a God who requires only that we meet our most basic need through Him as we accept His love.
This is what brings me here. This is how I can boldly sell what I have and fall on the mercy of God and the faith of my belief. It is simple... losing everything while allowing God to wrap His arms around you is the greatest gain that you can ever hope to achieve. Holding on to the temporary stuff of life and giving credence to fear while you miss out on the full love of Christ is the greatest tragic irony of humanity.
We must be willing to hurt in order to help. We must be willing to lose in order to win. We must be bold. We must be aware of fear... and then run full tilt into its teeth. We must claim our birthright.
We are orphans who deserve nothing.
We are sons and daughters of God who have been given eternal life.
And so... what is pain? It is temporary. What is death? It is the finish line. What is life? It is our chance to take hold of the hand of a fellow orphan and run together toward an inheritance. This is our temporary moment that will determine our forever.
This week... for me... for my son... for my fellow travelers... it is decision time. We stand at the threshold again. We each and every one will wrestle with our reaction to our belief.
There is great beauty to be found in this life. It exists where we become who we were created to be. Happiness and peace are found when action is in equilibrium with belief. On this day, may we all be about becoming.
And so... it is time to tuck in for the night and buckle up for the ride. And to the guys, I am sorry about the snoring (I did advise you to bring earplugs).