God has different ways of communicating with us. Some are obvious; some are not. As believers we need to be available to God so He can use us. We also have to trust him, and know he is working behind the scenes for his purposes and plans to be drawn out. We don’t always know why things happen, but sometimes we can look back and see how God has his hand on every detail.
World Vision is hosting the AmazingGrace.Life ministry team on our trip to Honduras. Since we have been here, we’ve been able to see how World Vision is helping tens of thousands of people and transforming entire communities with their program, which also creates sustainability for the villages. Each morning I do a devotional that I customized according to our itinerary. I start with a song to clear our heads, focus on the day, and to invite the Holy Spirit to cover us in his peace. I pray for the people we are going to meet, and that the Lord would go before us, behind us, and beside us. That he would prepare the hearts of those we will meet. And we could bring love, hope, encouragement to the kids. That we could be “Jesus in skin” to those who need it the most.
Our leader, Johnny Lopez, told us we would be going to see a man named Pastor Roman, who had a small church with dirt floors and a tin roof. The church is in a small village, called Amor Viviente, which means “living love.”
As we came in the back door, Pastor Roman was speaking to about 60 children. He stopped and welcomed us. Johnny said to me, “Tell Pastor Roman why you are here.” So I said, “The Lord has put it on my heart to write this book, Amazing Grace, and get it into the hands of as many people as I can because it’s so important that you, your family, these kids, and their families hear about Jesus and that they realize he loves them and cares for them. They need to ask him into their lives to be their personal Lord and Savior.” At that moment, Pastor Roman’s face lit up! Our eyes connected, and I could tell he knew I had Jesus in my heart and know the Lord as my Savior. When Pastor Roman looked through the book, he said, “This is like a life vest for us. The kids don’t have Bibles, but now they have the gospel of Jesus Christ and that booklet will always be their Bible.” Pastor Roman began to act out one of the stories in the book. I could tell he has such a gift and a passion for the kids.
I asked him, “Pastor Roman, what is your biggest need?” He said, “Food.” He started to cry. “I take care of 60 children, and the government only gives us a sack of rice and a sack of beans twice a month. I am their Papa. Most kids don’t have a father. The parents leave for work at 4am and don’t return home until 9pm, so there is no relationship between the children and their parents.” After we visited, I said to Johnny, “Is there a grocery store around here?” I had not seen anything that looked like a grocery store. He said, “If we drive an hour, I know of a big store.”
We left Pastor Roman and told him we’d be back, but we didn’t tell him we were going to bring food back. We wanted to surprise him. We filled two trucks full of food, and when he saw all the things we bought, he was overcome with joy. We were overwhelmed with tears. It was an “ah-ha” moment for sure. He broke down crying and praying over the food. Thanking God for all he had done, thanking Him for His son, and praising God for being a wonderful God. He also said, “This is a dream for the children, to see that God is good. This is such a blessing.”
Later that night, Johnny told us that Pastor Roman never had a visitor before us. I know that was a divine appointment orchestrated by God. We showed up, we hugged the kids, and we played with them. We handed out beach balls and soccer balls, and brought new toothbrushes and toothpaste since they didn’t have their own. But most of all, we brought hope, love, and encouragement to Pastor Roman. I thanked him several times for being obedient to God’s call. I told him that we need more people like him! I told him, “When you get to heaven someday, all these kids are going to run up to you and say, “Thank you Pastor Roman for loving us and telling us about Jesus.” He cried. Then we cried again.
God brings people into our lives in his perfect timing. We had no idea how important our visit was to Pastor Roman. Nobody had come by to pat him on the back and say, “Thank you for all you are doing for our kids.”
God put us there on that day at that time. We prayed for God’s wisdom and direction. We were available to the Lord, and as a result of that, great things happened. We got to be a part of it. The Holy Spirit was moving not only in his church, but in the lives of our team. We got to experience God working in our lives and also in Pastor Roman’s. We poured out our love and encouragement into Pastor Roman. We “refilled” his heart with joy, love, reassurance, and encouragement. He does that everyday with those kids.
It was such a blessing to be a blessing.
Where is God working in your life? Who can you encourage today?