Thursday, November 30, 2017

Seeing What Isn't There

What do you see when you look at this picture?...Go ahead, zoom in...take a moment to consider your options...
Here let me help...maybe you see a black tarp, but you can't quite see the big hole in the middle of it. (It's ok though, it's not the rainy season right now.)
You might also see a single hammock. Under the shade of the big trees on a hot El Salvador afternoon, this might be somewhat inviting.  You may also notice dishes and some clothing, and then maybe you might start to think a little further than just an afternoon siesta...
You can also see a fairly sizeable freshly cut tree stump. You can't see the tree that was felled, laying off to the right of the picture. You can't see the hundreds of machete (yes, machete) marks made over 2 straight days of determined chopping to bring the tree down.
You can see the silver glint of metal posts. You can't see that they will be assembled together to provide a new home for this family who have been living under that tarp. 8 days ago, they took down their old "house" and moved into this temporary dwelling.

You can't see this family of 5: A husband (Juan), a wife (Vilma) and three girls, plus another baby on the way. You can't see the horse off to the left which Juan mounts every morning at 3am to go to his first job - milking 56 hand. You can't see the farm where he harvests corn and beans to help provide for his family, working hard during the heat of the day. You can't see his past, orphaned at 2 years old, his parents killed by gang members. You can't see his desire to honour the Lord in his marriage, and as a father. You can't see his love and care for horses. his hobby, he says, which allows him to relax.

We know, you can't see any of this...and truly, neither can we. However we can feel the strength of God's presence as we sat across from him, looking into his hope-filled eyes, and listened to his no-excuse love for life despite the negative perceptions that our first glance provides.

"God Willing" (Primiero a Dios) was a phrase that he repeated throughout our conversation. It is a reminder that in everything God is in control, that we function, purposefully and consistently, in grateful response to His provision as we anticipate His leading for the future. That future, now includes a house: to protect his girls from predators, to shelter his family during the rainy season and to provide security from which to build a future.

Please pray for Juan and Vilma and the other families like them. Thanks for providing for them. Thanks for allowing us to be here, for just a few moments, to be inspired and challenged to see what isn't there.


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