One of the most incredible moments of our mission trip to Mexico was when the family whom we were building a house for chose to make our team lunch on the last day we were on the work site. There were 17 people in our church group and this family chose to feed all of us! It took all morning for Leticia and her sister-in-law to prepare and cook the meal. They actually cooked the food by an outdoor fire on what I would call an open wok or large metal bowl. They fixed enough food for two complete woks!!! And, they chose to rent plastic tables and chairs so that all of us could sit down and eat a meal with them. Leticia and her sister-in-law prepared a wonderful meal for us! They served spaghetti noodles with some sort of non-spicy sauce on it plus a stir fry mixture of chicken, potatoes, onions, hot dogs, and red peppers. It was certainly tasty after all the hard work we did to build the house.
Here is the most incredible part: Leticia and Cornado spent their entire weeks wages on one meal for us!!! Everything that Cornado worked so hard for each day at his job that week went to feed us....it was truly humbling to accept this meal. Also, they joined us so that we could enjoy the meal with themselves and their extended family, as well as the Pastor and his family. There were probably 35 or more people who shared this meal.
Can you imagine spending YOUR whole weeks wages on a meal for someone who helped you? Yes, I know our wages in the United States are probably more than what this family in Mexico makes in a week, but think about the concept of offering everything you have to someone you did not even know at the beginning of the week. Before we started building their house, they had no idea who any of us were except that the Pastor recommended us through Casas Por Cristo (Houses for Christ). Think about that. Let that soak in.....an entire weeks wages!! What would you do if someone offered to help you in such an extravagant way???
I have been the recipient of such an extravagant gift! In 2008, the men's prayer group at my church had it laid on their hearts to help this single mom whose house needed painting desperately. They meticulously scraped and sanded down spots on the exterior walls of the house, carefully fixed several spots of wood rot around the windows, primed it and painted the entire house at NO cost!!! That's right - even the paint was donated!!! Can you imagine how my heart felt that summer? It was overflowing with gratitude every day and still is today!!! I fixed them muffins and offered them lunch and wanted to have an after-the-painting BBQ, but they would not let me pay for anything. Nothing. This "Band of Angels" came together from a prayer meeting where 2 of these men from our Home Fellowship group who knew me personally were trying to figure out how to help me paint the house. These two angels dressed in jeans and T-shirts gathered approximately 10-12 other men from the prayer group and volunteered to come several Saturdays in a row to prime and paint my house!!! They came faithfully each weekend until the project was done. My cup was (and still is) overflowing!!! WOW!!! I was overwhelmed with their dedication and ability to take care of every detail for me. It was incredible. So, in some ways, I know how Leticia and Cornado feel....their life in Mexico is very different than mine here in America, but my heart swells with gratitude each time I think about these men and remember what a gift they gave me that summer!!! I will never forget their kindness. Never.
I still have the sign I put in my yard with 1-800-Band of Angels on it in my garage. Many neighbors and people who saw them working weekend after weekend, stopped to see if they could give them a quote on their house!!! It was too funny to see how many people wanted this group of men to paint their house. They thought they were professional house painters - only 2 men were really painters!!!
It is really funny how God works, isn't it? No, it is actually not funny, but INCREDIBLE!!!
God places people in our path with abilities and capabilities that we may not have an expertise in and brings them side by side a single mom, a neighbor, or friend who has a need. He places you and me in the path of other people to be a vessel for good. God loves it when we serve others in unexpected ways! God loves it when we offer a helping hand to someone in need. And, the great part is, we grow from the experience!!!
Consider what God has done for you through friends, relatives, and neighbors....consider putting yourself in someone else's shoes for a day. Would you be willing to give your whole weeks wages to offer gratitude for something someone has done for you? I would!
We serve an awesome God!!! Why don't you consider going out of your comfort zone and offering a helping hand somewhere this week??? God delights in YOU and loves it when we come together to show His love!!!!