I have been very privileged to travel to many corners of this world. I have seen many beautiful places in far flung locations. The glowing limestone walls of Jerusalem at sunset, the rolling hills outside Brno covered in red poppies in spring time, the Julian Alps freshly covered in snow, the thick lush green of Tryon Creek forest. Added to this prestigious list today is the countryside just outside Tegucigalpa at daybreak. Clouds were hanging low, hugging the curves of the hills, the sun painting the clouds in shades of pink and gold. The trees glinting in the early morning light. We left the hotel at 5 am to head out to Corralitos. I brought with me my IPhone, a book, a few magazines, all of which to entertain myself on the ride; none of it was needed - I just sat staring out the window in awe of the beauty. I had stashed my bag with my cameras in the back of the truck, out of reach, so I can't share the glory of the morning, but I don't think the magnificence could have been captured. It was so stunning!
By the time we arrived at abuela (grandmother; g'ma to Edwin and Miguel Fugon) Gloria's home in Corralitos the sun had been up for many hours. Three U-turns and a questionable road gave us the opportunity to take the scenic route which I thoroughly enjoyed. Abuela's house is on the side of a mountain, overlooking a steep valley and opposing hillside. The view was worth a million bucks, her house was not. We had come up here, to a spot that felt a world away from the city, to build her a new home - in a day. It wouldn't be much of a home by our American standards - an 18x20 square foot room, but for abuela - it was a palace and an answered prayer. The house she had been living in wasn't much bigger, if at all, but it was built on the ground, just dirt for floors, the wood had dry rot and was falling apart, the roof leaked so that when it rained instead of sleeping at night she would have to sit up in a corner to do her best to stay dry. She now has a home with a wood floor that is elevated off the ground, a metal roof to keep the rain out - a safe and dry place where she can sleep no matter the weather.
Today it hit me - between building this house for abuela and helping build the foundation for Ana's house - we are God's answer and provision to these two women. Our team isn't doing anything amazing or significant, we are each contributing a small effort, whatever we are capable of. Together it adds up to a house or a rock retaining wall. But that is the normal reality of the Christian life; being the hands and feet of Christ to this world. We are obedient in the small things, the trivial matters, we give what we can - and God works through that and converts it in His economy to create an answer to a multi-year long prayer and blesses the socks off these women. I don't know that I have ever been able to take what I've done in the past few hours and confidently say, 'I was part of God answering this person's prayer.'
I couldn't do much and felt pretty useless today. My hands were hurting and the wrists aching, hammering would not have been an unwise choice, but that is what was mostly needed for this project. While the post holes were being dug and the lumber carried down and put in place I talked with abuela, learning about the plants in her yard. She has her very own coffee plants! She grows her own coffee! The coffee addict in me really wished she would have offered a cup of her homegrown brew. But for a gal who harbors a fantasy to start an organic, shade grown, fair trade coffee co-op adjacent to Micah and VLM I was pretty excited just to see and touch a real coffee bush. I also learned about a different variety of cilantro than what I ever knew existed, tried raw sugar cane, and pure extracted cane juice boiled into a block. (Did you know I am allergic to sugar cane? I wasn't about to say no to our gracious host though.) I am so glad I got an opportunity to just spend time with her; she is a pretty incredible woman.
My two big highlights of the day:
1) Abuela must have been watching me roast hot dog after hot dog over the open fire for peoples lunch, but not see me eat the first one I cooked. As people ate their fill and went back to work, the crowd waning, I worked on repairing one of the roasting sticks to finish up cooking the dogs, abuela decided it was time for me to eat. She walked right up to me, grabbed me firmly by the wrist and pulled me into her home and motioned for me to serve myself some of the soup she had made. Although I had no idea what she was saying, unsure if it was totally safe or what the "meat" was, I knew she was going to be adamant, there was nothing to do but eat the soup. Don't mess with grandma!
2) At the end of the day we 'presented' Gloria with her new home and prayed for her. As she tried to express her thanks she was so overcome with emotion that she broke down crying. This strong, confident, capable mountain woman buried her petite head into Brian's chest like a child, using his t-shirt to daub away her tears.
|Abuela Gloria cuts up some|
sugar cane for us to enjoy.
|The new (almost complete)|
|Tears of Joy|