Saturday, January 05, 2008

Friends--Lost and Found

I just received an amazing phone call from a family I thought I had lost for good. They live in Monterrey, Mexico, now; I lost touch with them when they moved to Monterrey from Reynosa, on the Texas border.

I met them when I went on several mission trips to Reynosa about eleven years ago. V. was the pastor of the church where we stayed while we did our work of tearing down an ancient church with generations of possums living in the walls. We went back and stayed with V.’s people again a few months later to begin building a new church.

We comfort-loving Americans learned to work under bad conditions, as it rained most of the week. We learned to serve and love other people because of unconditional love. Our hearts were touched and broken by the terrible poverty we saw. People lived in lean-tos made of wooden pallets, Styrofoam, pieces of tin and cardboard. Their floors were dirt. Pairs of houses shared a water faucet. Every yard had an outhouse. In spite of pain and troubles, they worshipped God with a free openness that we rarely see in this country—a sweetness of spirit, a certainty in his power and love.

We met with a youth group in a large church in a more prosperous part of the city; they did not know about the poverty and suffering in their own city. They asked us, “Why have you come so far to help people you don’t know?”

We looked at each other and said, “Uh, well….”

They said, “Is it because you have Jesus in your hearts?”

That was it. “Yes,” we said. The rest of the week, three of the youths worked with us. We were brothers and sisters in Christ. By the end of that week, we loved them and didn’t want to leave; we were especially close to V. and his family. V. and his wife came to the United States and spent a week with us.

For about six years, I kept in touch with V. and his wife through e-mail, but I lost them when they moved to Monterrey four years ago. I had tried everything I knew to find out where they were. Then tonight, there they were, on the telephone. They are visiting their son in the United States. I am full of joy to have them back at last!! Praise be to God, who gives blessing after blessing!

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