Proverbs 21:13 – Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
Today started with our devotion in the bus as we have been doing every morning on the way to and from our daily assignment. Our topic for the discussion was “what is your ‘it’ question that you would like answered on this trip?” This was a tough devotion to get started, but once we got rolling on it we started asking questions like, “what would YOU like to get out of this trip?” and “what would you like the GROUP to get out of this trip?” and “what would you like the PEOPLE WE ARE SERVING to get out of this trip?” One of our church missionaries said, “I don’t know what ‘it’ is for me. I just know that God woke me up a few weeks before this trip and said, ‘go to Peru.’ So I am here.”
After praying, we ended up at the build site where we were to build over 100 wheelchairs.
One of the most amazing things was getting the group of gringos and Peruvians together for prayer before building. It was a bilingual prayer. During it, you could here people from both America and Peru thanking God, calling out to Him, and worshiping.
Then we started in with building. There are 2 types of wheelchairs. The first is called a Gen1. It is for people who are paralyzed from the waste down or have lower extremity amputation.
The next type, or Gen2, is made for people with Cerebral Palsey or are quadrapalegic. The Gen2 are more adaptable and come in 3 sizes, children’s, teen, and adult. To give you an idea of how many children we have, we built over 14 of the children sized Gen2.
Building them was exciting and fun. Last year when we were building them, I remember the pastor in charge telling us “this $60 Chinese wheelchair is being built by gringos from America to serve the community of Peru.”
After it was all said and done, we had 35 Gen2 and 68 Gen1 wheelchairs built.
We finished early, so we decided to add a stop to our day.
Our guide, Adam, has pretty much adopted a family. A woman in her mid-50’s had polio when younger and walks with a cane. Her children all live with her and one of them is so severely disabled both physically and mentally that the family has problems supporting basic needs. Well last year, a landslide destroyed their home and they were living next to the local trash dump. Adam started going up there and rebuilding their house for them slowly but surely. A few weeks ago, he finished. He asked us to go up the mountain to check on her and deliver some food. First, we needed to stop at the local market. This market was an experience unto itself!
Want some lamb?
We purchased various fruits, veggies, meats, rices, and pastas. This isn’t one of those markets that takes American dollars, so we needed to stop and get Peruvian money changed first. It also isn’t a particularly safe market to be alone. Interestingly, as Mimi and I were looking at the fish and crab, we realized that our group had disappeared. They kept walking and didn’t even realize we were missing. As much as I like to claim I am not E.G.R. (Extra Grace Required) we had the group actually looking for us. We simply looked for them for a little while and then headed straight to the bus, knowing they’d be back that way eventually. LOL, nothing happened to us, but to say that wasn’t the place to get separated is an understatement.
Afterward, we made our way to the woman’s house to deliver the food and pray with her. She lives in a shanty town near the top of a large shale hill. It is extremely dry and dusty and the air is thick with pollution and dirt.
When we got there, we saw her son.
At the age of 15, he is unable to walk and cannot communicate with the outside world much at all. We prayed with Claudia. Asking her if it was alright if we prayed with her, she agreed and immediately starting praying. Immediately we burst into tears when the first words from her mouth were “Father, thank You….” Here is a woman who has a child that is unable to exist without support, lost her house in a landslide, and lives a very rough, difficult life and SHE IS THANKING GOD!
We were all in tears.
We then went around and prayed in English randomly for her and her family. She kissed each of us, broke into tears, and thanked us.
We boarded the bus and headed back into Lima. As we were driving, the man who explained that he didn’t know what his “it” story was said, “I just realized what my ‘it’ story is.” He then explained that one of his spiritual gifts is compassion and to take people’s issues to Christ. He broke down into tears, unable to speak, and spent much of the bus ride home in tears with our hands on him, crying together and praying for God to expand his ‘it’ story.
Even I was very close to taking my plane ticket and ripping it up.
To think of our “first world problems” of losing internet when it rains or hitting traffic on the beltway or church running too long to catch the kickoff to the football game and see someone who has a vegetable for a child and lost her house during a landslide AND STILL THANKING GOD makes me believe that we in America have it wrong.
We don’t help our neighbor enough.
We don’t provide for our brother or sister enough.
We don’t even help our church family enough when tragedy strikes or sin fills their life. As a matter of fact, with that last one, we are usually very quick to judge and step away from them. I know I am guilty of that on more than one occasion.
So, if anything, Christian, you need to work your muscles. I don’t mean your abs or pecs or glute but your heart muscle. You need to constantly train it to feel for that which causes God’s heart to cry. If you can cry with God when injustice is happening, then you will smile with God when justice wins.
Tomorrow will be another emotional roller coaster as we handle wheelchair distribution to over 100 Peruvians.
1 John 3: 17-18 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.