While we’re only wading slowly into 1 John in order to finish our previous study that is still hanging, we’ll eventually get to the parts about loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Remember that on Sunday, we basically turned the church service into a moving party and helped out one of our house church couples get moved into a new place. There is a lot to that story and some of it is absolutely wonderful and is an answer to prayers from the past two years. It is a bit sensitive, so I can’t tell that story, but it’s a remarkable development, and one we had no idea that God would orchestrate in their lives. Praise God for that!
It took about 4 hours to get them moved using a 25 year old Mazda pickup truck and our van (with back seats tucked into the floor). We filled up the van 4 times with smaller things; the pickup likewise took about 4 trips with the big stuff. Obviously, they don’t have a lot but everything adds up. Without our help, it would have easily taken them 3 or 4 hours longer.
Another good story that goes with this is that the cousin, Lupe and his wife have been housing and feeding her brother who came from the neighboring state several months ago to find work. It wasn’t safe to live over there, and there weren’t any jobs. So, he’s been living with them along with their own three young children in their sort of two room apartment, but it’s just one open area with an L-shape to it. I don’t think it takes too much imagination to realize that this was not a good arrangement and not healthy for their marriage.
The very next day, after working hard to help with the Sunday move, they carried all of their things to the now vacant apartment which is actually, two separate rooms that don’t even connect. Emmanuel and Maricruz used that separate room as a kitchen, but Lupe and Rocío are wisely using it as a separate quarters for her brother and are making a little one-room apartment out of it for him. It’s about 20 feet by 6 feet. May be a little smaller. They have one big room, but it still gives them a little more space than they had before.
I didn’t know they were moving yesterday, and I let them know that they should have told us so we could have helped them. They always look surprised by such statements but remember, they see us as rich Americans (which we comparatively and definitely are), and rich people in this culture don’t “stoop down” to help poor people, especially by doing manual labor. That’s beneath rich people to do that. That’s a universal truth throughout the world. However, there is nothing we can say that will teach them what the Bible means when it says we should love one another as Christ loved us, or that God regards us all the same regardless of any criteria you can think of, other than to do whatever we can do to reach out…not down…out. We are not above anyone despite economic, educational, social, nationality differences (etc).
Today, Rocío called us in a panic and needed help with their 3 year old who needed to go to the emergency room. So, we quick put together some things and headed over in just a few minutes. The boy had put some cotton batting up his nose and a clinic “doctor” (whatever that means) got some of it out earlier this morning and then pronounced him well. She could see there was more in his nose and he finally admitted there was something in there, but he couldn’t get it out. He’d need a specialist.
So, we took her and the three boys to the emergency room at the social security hospital and stood and waited for about 4 hours. Bethie sat on the waiting area floor with two or three kids at once and “played” Uno (which she’d thrown in the bag with some coloring things and books). A little 3 year old girl, Alexis Carolina (and you can be sure that I know that this was her name because she made sure we knew her name and that it was not Carolina, it was ALEXIS Carolina, and it was not Alexis, it was Alexis CAROLINE…well, OK!), joined in on the Uno game which really wasn’t a game of Uno but a game of putting down Uno cards on the stack that usually were more or less what you might normally play in a game of Uno.
It was a bit hot in there. Lupe came in early from work. We stood and talked. I taught him Greek. Not really, but I showed him my Greek textbook and the alphabet and explained a few things to him. Given he can’t really read Spanish, I’m sure he was deeply confused by the end of that. Hey, if one language doesn’t work…try another! 🙂
Finally, the specialist arrived and the nose was dealt with. Apparently, the boy had wrapped the cotton batting around a plastic bb and stuck it up there and just kept pushing it up until it was really stuck. He’s a strange little one. Laughs about such things. He’s not the brightest bulb in the knife drawer, so to speak. I thought that if he had pushed that stuff up there much further…it probably wouldn’t have made any difference. Actually, the doctor said had it gone through his sinuses and down, he could easily have choked to death on it. And leaving it there as the earlier doctor was content to do would easily have led to infection and who knows what serious problems from there. All afternoon, we kept telling him not to put his finger up his nose and to continue pushing on it. He just laughed and shook his head. I know this is irrational and illogical, but I’m praying he grows out of it. Whatever “it” is.
God doesn’t make them all that way. That’s a plus.
But the point was…we were happy to have an opportunity to show them love and to give of ourselves a little so they could see that love.
Oh and on Sunday. When we finished the last load and declared we were heading home. I thanked them for giving us the pleasure of helping them. Maricruz just sort of looked stunned and stared at me like I had just “pitched up from Mars.” Emmanuel grinned like…”oh…he knows the culture a little.” Jason…he just laughed like…”that’s the most unexpected thing I’ve heard from Alan in awhile.” Well, I don’t know for sure what they were thinking, but you know, I meant it. It was a pleasure to help them because it’s a pleasure to love our brothers and sisters just a wee little bit like Christ loved us.
Some scenes from one of the waiting areas we ended up in for a bit:
“The Virgin” who shows up everywhere in Mexico…everywhere. And of course, here in such a place where many people are praying to her for a healing of some sort for a sick or injured one. Always a sad sight.
Below are some posters that showed some native plants that the ancient indigenous used to remedy certain ailments. If I’m reading those correctly, the first is for scabies, the second is for fever or heat (“calor”), and the third is for angina. Pretty neat stuff. I didn’t see any plants that remedied cotton and plastic bb’s up the nose. Maybe that poster is on a different floor. I’m hoping I don’t have the opportunity to find out.