So I know I just put up a blog post yesterday… and another just a few days before that… but here’s one more! I am a bloggin fool now, there’s no stoppin me!
This morning, Jessica came upstairs to ask for a “small” favor, which is how they always describe favors here, I might add. She wanted to know if I would speak at women’s group tonight on Panama and what we can do to serve the least of these. It sounded kind of crazy to me at first… speak to women who I definitely consider among the least of these… about the least of these. In essence, try to convince very poor people to help other very, very poor people. I am by no means a preacher, but I am a believer. As a believer, we should all feel obligated to share our story and whatever else God wants us to share. For that reason, I agreed to do it but immediately started praying for God to give me the right words.
Today was an extremely busy Monday as far as Mondays go. Jessica and I had to go to Pricesmart in Alajuela which is almost a half day affair right there. I got almost the entire running budget finished this afternoon. I had preschool class to attend to with Laura. Before I knew it, we were two short hours from women’s group and I still needed to put a picture slideshow together and come up with something to say. Acts 1:8 seemed appropriate along with “sticky lady’s” story. I more or less was going to recap some of my blog from yesterday on Panama. I went downstairs to get the slideshow set up and prepare for group with the ladies.
At 6:00 p.m., the proposed start time, I was waiting patiently with my Bible reading over the verse over and over. There were only maybe 20 women there at that time. The thought ran through my head that 20 women was good enough, after all I am never one to want to be the center of attention and talking in front of large crowds doesn’t exactly make me comfortable. Before I could even finish the thought, I said to myself “are you serious right now?” Sometimes, we are lucky enough to put ourselves in our place before we go too far. What kind of person puts limits on God so that they can feel comfortable? Sadly, the answer is probably most of us and a lot more often than any of us would like to admit! I should have been hoping that every chair be filled. During the first worship song, I had my eyes closed and was praying for God to speak through me regardless of how comfortable I felt. And in trying to keep the bigger picture in mind, I prayed that God would fill every chair in that room.
When I opened my eyes, God had filled every chair and Laura was ushering women towards where I was standing at the stack of chairs. With 40 women present, my slideshow of pictures began. They enjoyed seeing all the photos of the families and of us hiking through the countryside to get to them. After it was over, I began to tell them about Panama. I talked about the seemingly impossible situations that they face there and how many of them can probably relate to how the Ngobe families and others in the program probably feel. The great part about Acts 1:8 is that if any of us claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we will be empowered through the Holy Spirit to go out into the world and witness to people. It’s not just a handful of people that have that empowerment. It’s not those of us who are rich compared to the rest of the world, who are mature in their faith and have been Christians for decades, or any other set of so-called standards. It’s an all-skate!
After I was done talking to them, Jessica began to speak to them about the blessing in their lives. She pointed out that many of them receive help from other groups but the people we help in Panama don’t have that luxury. The fact that they have help here in Costa Rica and experience blessings from that means they need to try and bless others less fortunate. This was the moment where I watched the women’s faces closely. Either we’d lose them here, or they’d be on board. They were focused and nodding their heads in agreement. Laura told them about our plan to have them bring an offering to group each Monday night so we could help one family out in the Panama feeding program. Hands shot up in the air immediately with questions… what else do they need? can we send them clothes? who is our family? how many children do they have? They were excited! And beyond ready to help! It was a team effort, but God spoke to all of those women through Jessica, Laura and I tonight. Several years ago, I couldn’t have imagined such things, but God is moving in the hearts of the people here. The Holy Spirit is empowering the women of Bajo Tejares to be a witness to the least of these in Panama. Amazing!