Today was our last day with the Celebration Team… Talk about going out with a bang! Our plan was to hike to the first Cross on the mountain this morning as our time was limited and the rain last night made going to the third Cross to dangerous. On our way up, we passed by a very small woman who was cutting branches with a machete. I said hi to her as we passed, but she simply looked at me with a blank expression. About 100 yards after we passed her, we stopped to wait for the last of the group to catch up. As I looked back to see what was holding the group up, I see Jorge and Jonathan speaking with this lady. Just then, Jorge shouts up to the group (in his broken English): “At this moment, right now, this woman accept Jesus Christ for first time!”
I and the other ten group members had just walked by this woman 45 seconds ago…? And now she is praying with Jorge and Jonathan…? God, this wasn’t on the schedule…?
While the rest of us simply smiled and walked by, Jorge and Jonathan stopped and talked for a second. After only a few words, Jonathan told Jorge to ask the woman (Patricia) if she knew Jesus. She responded “Si, Dios” (yes, God) and pointed to the sky. At that point Jorge asked her if she had ever invited Jesus into her heart and she said no. “Would you like to?” Jorge asked, and she said yes! So they prayed…
Completely is shock, we all helped Patricia gather wood and take it up to her house. It turns out that Patricia was thirty years old and lived with her sister and niece in a small shanty house on the mountain. The had no electricity, no running water, a very little food. (Bonnie gave her a couple packs of crackers and some peanuts we had stashed for the hike. She said she was going to save them for her niece.) Patricia had never really left the mountain, never went to school, and thus doesn’t know how to read or write. After the team prayed over her and her home, Jorge promised that we would take her some food on our next trip up to the cross, along with a Solar Powered Audio Bible (in Spanish) for her to listen to.
I’m not sure where this relationship will go, but I was shown once again that God’s plan is so much better than mine.
After leaving Patricia’s home, we made it up to the first cross! What a view.
This team was so great to work with. Saying goodbye to them after lunch was really difficult as they definitely inspired me. But, their was no time to emotionally unpack anything because another team from Mississippi had already arrived and was ready to start their spiritual journey and we needed to now put our focus on them.
This job is not only physically demanding (mixing concrete by hand and really long days), but the emotional tolls are also costly. Getting attached to a team as they go through an incredibly intense experience and then having to say goodbye to them while putting on your “game face” for the next team is no easy task.