Well, my friends, this one won´t be pretty. The keyboard here is SOMETHING ELSE. I can´t find any of the keys, there´s no @ key (I had to paste this one in from one I found in the search engine).And almost every word is underlined in angry red as I type all these misspelled spanish words. This computer no hable ingles.
Our flights were mostly on time and relatively smooth and tranquil. The last leg was a little iffy, but we weren´t really so very much aware of our surroundings anyway after 12 or 13 hours of travel. We knew we loved each other. We knew we got along. But it´s like we became a family on that series of flights and airport waits. It was an amazing journey, ending in a crazy drive through the beautiful city of Guayaquil with the most capable driver, Delia (sp). She had a good giggle today when I asked Eddie to tell her she drives like a MAN. At the airport, we finally got to meet Tatiana (what a beautiful woman), and Carito´s parents. Delia got us to our home away from home, the Iguanazu hostel...We awoke this morning to the most beautiful, drippingly gorgeous view of this vast city that is home to something like a million and a half people.
The first house went up today. I can´t describe to you what that was like, but, driving in, watching the topheavy truck ahead of us nearly pitch onto its side so many times, I couldn´t have imagined that the stuff on top of and inside that truck would 8 hours later be a finished home with a young woman whirling around inside, her babies in her arms, beaming a smile that stung my eyes and made my throat feel tight.
I have overload of the senses right now, after only one day of sights and sounds and smells and smiles and words... so I´m afraid I can´t package this up neatly with a beginning, middle and end, a catchy title or a ribbon of theme running through it.
But I can tell you this. We came here to serve. To make some sort of difference. Every one of us did. And every one of us ached that we couldn´t do more. And I´m left with this thought: How must our Lord feel as he looks at the broken parts of our lives, at our hurts and our weaknesses and our needs, longing to serve us. To give us abundant lives. He said it again and again in so many ways that he came to serve and not be served, that he came that we might have life. And that we might have it to the full.
When Ladi sat there watching us, her tiny beautiful children in her arms, at pretty much the lowest point of her young life, abandoned and rejected and with no place left to go, I learned something about being willing to be served, to receive love. Her choices were pretty limited, but she chose to accept what we were offering. It wasn´t perfect, but it was a start, and she was brave enough and humble enough to start. She let us serve her. Her mom, Sonya (!) served her by watching over the children. Her stepdad served her by providing the land, bringing us chairs to sit on in the shade for breaks, putting our water in his fridge to keep cold, and finally by getting right in with us and helping to lift and carry and build. Her pastor, Carlito,and his beautiful, giving wife, Veronica, served by finding people to build the house and by being there and helping all day in the heat right alongside us.Her little brother Marcos served her by helping with the children and just being there, following his dad´s lead and getting chairs or tools when we needed them. Sure Andrew nearly had him nailed to the floor, but we all agreed, Marcos included, that he was skinny enough to be mistaken for a board, so the big Canadian wasn´t really too far out of line. I guess what I´m trying to say was that it wasn´t the end of the line because Ladi was open to receiving what was offered.
There was this butterfly on the terrace this morning after breakfast, with one wing badly torn. Poor little fella was right in the middle of the deck and in danger of being trampled. Andrew and I both tried to offer to move him. But he was pretty freaked out and flitted awkwardly away when we got close. There were birds everywhere giving him the evil eye (ok, they just looked like they were giving him the stink eye...what do I know...before I noticed the endangered butterfly, they were a beautifully melodic addition to the backdrop of our breakfast), and we really did just want to move him into a shady bush that bore the same orange colour in its blossom as he had on the one remaining good wing.
I don´t want to be the skittish busted butterfly of today. I want to be like Ladi. Broken, exposed, accepting and open to being served by the God who knows "the depths of my heart, and loves me the same".
"In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit"-Ephesians 2:21-22