27 Oct In Their Own Words
We had gone to the Seeds of Affection House in the early morning to help prepare the food that we were going to serve to the children and elderly that day. Upon arriving, Pili had come and embraced each one of us. She held me tightly as if I was the most important person in the world to her! The emotion in her eyes, smile, and hug, really made me feel loved and appreciated in a way that was very surprising to me since she didn’t even know me. And this was just the greeting!
As more and more people arrived at the house to get their meals, it was obvious soon enough that there were more people there, than there were seats, dishes to fill with food, and people to serve them. During a moment of chaos, I called out to the Lord in my heart and said, “Lord! So many people, so many things to do! How do you want me to take care of them?” He replied, “One person at a time, with love, a tender touch, and a warm smile for each one!” And so I did.
It was received with cute and sometimes quirky smiles, and appreciation. I was also amazed to see how many of the older children also jumped right in to help clear dishes, wash them, bring them to the kitchen for filling up, and they helped pass out the full plates. At one point it was so chaotic, crowded, and very hot, that one of the older children offered me a cup of the juice that was for the kids. It was a gesture that communicated, “Please, drink and take a break yourself. I see you and I care about you.”
I was there to serve all those coming, and I experienced someone serving me. The love and appreciation I saw in people’s eyes really blessed my heart more than I felt I had blessed those there. We were a team gone to Colombia to do the Lord’s work, and all of them there were a family to help each other, AND those that came to serve them!
God is clearly at work in Puerto Caldas! I see it the faces, eyes, and smiles of the people there—from the very young to the oldest there. First impressions………they made a very loving first and lasting impression on me! That to me was the most memorable time of our trip to Colombia!
The time I remember the most from our mission was when we were walking down the street with Jose and Pili to meet with the people in the community. As we walked down the street, the little children would see them and come running shouting “Pili!! Pili!!” And she gave them all hugs and kisses and the love on their faces and hers was radiant! And the adults would come out and share hugs with Pili and talk with her for a few minutes. I was watching this thinking to myself, “this isn’t fake or going through the motions. This is someone who genuinely loves this community and has spent almost all of her time over many years pouring into all of them. This is what a long-term investment in love looks like.” It reminds me of 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 truth.” This was the real-world manifestation of this scripture.