January 14, 2012

Marcela, cold water, and refrigerators

filling up water tanks to take to the slums

Days are full here. None are ever the same. I wonder if that is, in part, because it's summer. It is very difficult to have a schedule when people drop in unannounced every day, some with great physical and spiritual needs, some for lunch, some for dinner, some to just talk and visit. Much grace is also required as temperatures climb back up over 100.

Oh, and the dust. Don't forget the dust! I have never seen so much dust and dirt in a house in all my life. I feel like all I do is clean, clean, clean. And surely, I think, God did not bring me here to just clean all day long day after day, did He?

Dany drinking terere
Yesterday, Tony and Dani went back to visit the families whose houses burned down. The third time this week.

Dani is one of the pastor's sons. He is 17 years old and he is pure genius. He handles all the car repairs for the church, is a master electrician, mechanic, welder, and builds his own computers. And he loves to do missions. He also recently repaired our TV all by himself - the one that Tony (ahem) blew out. Dani is very smart and always busy helping out.

Today my boy asked me why Dani is so white but doesn't understand English.


I told him that it's because his parents are of European descent, but he's Argentinian, so he speaks Spanish.

On Wednesday when Tony and Dani went up to visit the families for the second time, bringing water and the food we forgot to unload (duh), one of the women, the one who has 5 children, opened up and told her story.

Oh boy.

When Tony asked the families why they thought this may have happened to them, all were silent. Then, Marcela spoke up. She said, yes, she had thought about that question many a time since her house burned down.

Marcela, in the middle, wearing a dress

Marcela uses cocaine. Her husband abuses alcohol, does coke, and also smokes pot. Fortunately, Marcela's husband holds down a job. He works from midnight until 10am loading and unloading fruit crates at a fruit distributor. As she opened up, Marcela also shared that they have dabbled in Umbanda. They have five children. She admits that she feels empty.

Tony and Dani stayed all afternoon visiting, baking under the sun, sharing time, conversation, and Christ. When the guys were getting ready to leave, Marcela asked that they stay. She wanted to talk some more. It did her so well, she said, that they came. She has thought many times of taking her own life. But she was feeling better now that they had talked. So they stayed and promised to come back in a few days. Tony told her that even if we continue to bring food, water, a refrigerator, or any and all sort of material things, without Christ in her life she would still feel empty.

When Tony came home after this visit and announced that we would be buying them a refrigerator, I confess that my reaction was more like, "Woahhh... Hold on there a minute, don't forget you don't have a job yet. We have to pay rent, you know. Refrigerators are expensive. Why don't we wait til Sunday, make an announcement at church, and have everyone give 100 pesos?"

No, he said. They need a refrigerator now.


The construction guys next door have a used fridge they can sell to us for 800 pesos ($200). New ones cost $2000-3000 pesos.

Where are we going to get an extra $200??, I asked. If you hadn't noticed, we don't have much of an income.

Worry, worry, worry.

The next morning fellow missionary Lee came over. We had given them 3 big peices of furniture that literally did not fit into our smaller house here, even after three yard sales and tremendous downsizing. We needed to sell one of the pieces, hoping to help pay for our own rent while Tony still waits for a call from the TV station (they say he is #1 on the list to get a job, but everyone is on vacation now, so we need to wait.). We're living on faith already.

While I was wondering how on earth we were going to give Marcela a refrigerator, when we don't have a job or fixed monthly support to even pay for our own roof, the next morning Lee came and offered us 1000 pesos for the 3rd piece of furniture we were selling.

Not the first time I've felt ashamed of my lack of faith and amazed at the goodness of God at the same time.

Yesterday it was 38 degrees Celcius up there on the desert hill. That is 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Today it will be hotter.

There is no water. There is no shade. There is a not a tree or a blade of green in sight. They do not have ice, or even a refrigerator. One of the women had a headache from the heat and the beating sun, which are brutal here. The low pressure system that constantly hangs over the city, inviting hot winds to blow in, can make your head bound. I know this personally since I've had to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen every single day for three straight weeks for constant headache. Even Tony complains it bothers him.

Today Tony and Dany will be going back to Marcela's neighborhood. They filled two big tanks with fresh, cool, sparkling water.

Our kids ask why they keep going back there. I tell them that the Bible says to Love the Lord God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Would you want to be thirsty and hungry and homeless and without Christ? Wouldn't you want someone to come help you if you were Marcela?

"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." ~Mark 9:41

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you."
~John 15:13,14

1 comment:

Christy said...

There really should be a comment on this post. What an amazing story of God's provision! When we have to fully rely on God for our every need it is awesome to see how he provides. That's when miracles happen. You guys are so blessed.

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