Fort Worth, TX
We have just returned from a trip to Casa Hogar La Familia. What I forgot, is that God works in all situations.
We volunteered at the school to clean the classroom and eat lunch with the students. Some of the differences between The United States and Mexico became evident at the school. Instead of 22 students per class, this class had 48 students. No regulations to keep ratios in check. We carefully made 60 sandwiches of bread, mayo, ham, cheese, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Yes jalapenos! We packed up our lunches, cleaning supplies and headed to the school.
The students went to recess while we took everything out of the classroom and cleaned. We scrubbed the walls, floors, windows and desks. We swept the walkway in front of the class and picked up trash. The students came back and we passed out sandwiches and chips. The kids never asked what was in the sandwich or even looked inside. They were thankful and ate their lunch. The kids had an opportunity to ask us questions and we asked them questions. The kids wanted to know how long did it take for us to travel from Texas to Mexico, how old we are and what did we do for jobs. We asked about their most and least favorite subjects in school. All students agreed that math is the favorite and history is the least. I will admit that I was surprised by their answer.
I was also surprised by how interested the children were in our lives and their well wishes for us. It was truly humbling. For us, we were just doing what we do. It wasn’t a big deal really. It wasn’t hard work. We had plenty of money to buy what we needed, we had the time and we had the human power to do the work. For the children, it was a big deal. We showed up. We spent an entire day to travel to Mexico. We spent time at the store buying supplies for lunch, making the lunches and then working at the school. It would be easy to dismiss our work. It meant something to those students to have us there.
Our trip was a powerful reminder of the power of presence. We spent time playing with the kids. We worked on craft projects, played games, and ate with the children. We learned about their stories. At the dinner table the children shared stories about their lives. Several of the children have siblings, either living in the home or elsewhere. Some of the children have parents or grandparents they have contact with even if it is form time to time. One young lady, 15 years old, told Martie that her mother was dead and that she was alone. Martie told her that she was not true. Martie said “You’re not alone, I am here”. You are not alone. I am here.
We came up with a theme statement for our trip. One has to be careful what one consumes when in Mexico. So whenever we would eat or drink something the question of safety would come up. Doug said in response “We will know in the morning.” That became our motto. Fortunately, in this sense, all was well on this trip. There are some things we can know. And there are some things we will never know. God does not intend for us to know the outcome of everything we do. Did our presence make an impact at the school? Did we show them Christ when cleaned their desks? Will one of the children remember that we played water balloon volleyball with them and laugh at the memory? Did Martie’s words change how that young lady felt about her world? Was she able to sense a deeper meaning in Martie’s words? Not only did she have Martie’s love, she also has God’s love. Will we ever know?
Faith calls us to step out in action not knowing what the results will be. We cannot be consumed with the “results”. God is in charge of the results. It is not up to us to change hearts but it is up to us to show up and do the work God has called us to do. So we go, trusting in God in the process. A big group or small, hard labor or fun and games, God is at work. So maybe we will know in the morning and maybe not. Either way we will go to love and serve close to home and across the borders.
If you get a chance, ask one of the team about our secret handshake.