Something beautiful happened today.
We stood on the freshly dried concrete floor of our friend Elizabeth’s newly-built home and we worshiped God and prayed for his blessing.
Two weeks ago, Elizabeth’s home burnt to the grounds home burnt to the ground. She had to guard the pile of rubble so that no one would steal her last possessions.
Two weeks ago, we barely new Elizabeth. Kim had chatted with her about kids and dogs and recargas.
Today, we sang songs of gratitude together and prayed blessings for this home; then we shared mini-doughnuts and Coke. And it struck me–and I hope this doesn’t offend you–that we were sharing communion together.
Now, we know Elizabeth. She is joining our Mujeres de Shalom (“women of peace”) group led by our ministry partner Bella Ndoro. She even, somehow, has the tiny beginnings of an inventory of 2 cordoba (6 cent) bags of chips. Corin is more than happy to be her best customer.
The kids chased a ball around outside while we talked and laughed. And I pictured what I had seen two weeks ago when I walked back to see the site of the fire.
I have described in detail the broken infrastructure of Nicaraguan government and social services. But I watched bags of cement delivered, construction workers show up (whom Elizabeth was responsible to feed; we and some other neighbors got to help with that), and in less than two weeks, Elizabeth has a home again. I don’t know what you think of socialism, but we’re certainly grateful she is not homeless.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I love the word “redemption.” When I speak of redemption, I mean God’s refusal to let bad things just rot, his absolute determination and willingness to bring good out of bad. [/pullquote]
I love the word “redemption.” When I speak of redemption, I mean God’s refusal to let bad things just rot, his absolute determination and willingness to bring good out of bad. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean that all things are good; some things are horrible and some are evil. But in all things, God continues to bring good for people’s lives.
I was standing there, looking at these solid, blank walls and this bare floor, a house that none of us–you reading this and I–would consider luxurious. It’s one room. But I doubt I’ve ever seen someone more grateful for a home.
And where we were strangers before, now we have started friendships. Where she was abandoned by her husband, then left with nothing, in that same place we got to surround her and pray and sing and laugh and eat. Our close neighbor friends, Mileydi and Juan Carlos, and our Servant Partners teammates have become Elizabeth’s new friends.
When we first began to sing, there were only a few of us in the circle, but as our voices drifted outside, some neighborhood children and two other moms came in, drawn into the celebration. In this barrio, tensions over the sharing of scarce resources and distrust among neighbors can run high. We lean on God to make part of our witness here modeling a better way of living together, of singing and sharing and holding hands as we pray. Of learning from Jesus how to be true neighbors.
[Kim and I wrote this one together.]