Yesterday was probably one of the most special and moving days of my life.
On Thursday, after my classes, I felt God whispering to go up, go up on the hill above base as far as I could.
I thought it was for the view, so I set off with just my music and a water bottle to go higher up.
When I got as far as I could I came to the gated entrance of the Iris school. I thought this is as far as I go, but the guard opened the gate and motioned for me to go on.
I went in and felt so at home, I walked into one of the classroom buildings and became so overwhelmed with Gods presence and the burning intensity of my own dream to build schools and what education means for this country. I couldn’t stay long as a few students started filtering into the room for class. I wiped my tears and tried to sneak out, as I didn’t want to be a disruption. –Sometimes seeing a white person around is quite the disruption. I walked across the red dirt campus and stood by a tree to observe. Eventually three teenage boys walked over to say hi, and had lots of questions for me in broken English. (The kids who are in school get very excited to practice their English and are very curious about life in America.)
Surprised by their curiosity and polite conversation I stayed with them talking and trying to relate in our mixed languages. They told me they would receive their grades for the semester the next day and asked if I would come back for this. I was delighted by their eager faces and honored by their request. After getting permission from my house leaders, I joined the class the next day to receive their grades. It was so special and I was very proud as the three of them received the best grades in the class. They have high goals and dreams of becoming a businessman, a doctor, and a biology teacher. After class, they asked if they could show me their village. I gathered four other girls from my house and met the boys at the gate for our adventure.
And what an adventure we had. I had asked Leonardo, the oldest to take us to meet his family. He warned me that his house was a far distance, but I assured him we were strong girls and were up for the walk. After all he does this walk twice a day it couldn’t be that bad.As we strolled through the village our eyes and hearts were gaping wide at the life and commotion held hidden in this culture we had ventured into. We thought our student life in mud houses without running water — bucket showers and pit latrines was a sacrifice. While seeing the poverty and lifestyles of the village people, my humble accommodations seem like a palace. My daily meal of rice and beans is fit for kings.
We walked and talked about life and cultural differences with the boys. Leon taught us how they used different plants for nutrients and washing their skin. Even in their poverty, there was a distinct difference between homes and the standard of living between neighborhoods. We walked through tiny alleyways, crossed muddy streams filled with trash, traveled dusty red roads and the ‘long walk’ we started out on I realized was probably more than six miles one way to Leon’s house. When we finally arrived to the house we were amazed by what we saw. As the only man in his family, he had built their humble home from bamboo and some scrap sheet metal. The bamboo was tied together by stripped rubber tires. Three people live in this room with a fire on the ground to cook their food. They have one battery powered lantern for Leon to study by and read their Bible at night. They laid out straw mats for us to sit on outside and we played with the kids and rested and loved on them. Their faith in God is beyond comparison. They are happy. They trust Him with everything. They have the greatest faith In Him to provide for their family day to day, for water, for food, for clothing, for protection. What can separate us from the Love of God?
Even Leon’s friends, the other two boys who walked with us, were visiting his home for the first time and were amazed and grateful for their own humble homes close to school. They teased their friend about how he should get a motorcycle so he doesn’t have to walk so far every day.
We prayed for Leon and his family, asking for more of Gods presence and protection, His loving hand on them is so evident.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Your Heavenly Father knows ALL that you need. What can separate us from the love of God?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
I am convinced that neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in ALL creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.