The Face of Jesus
2005 – It was dusty, windy and about 98 degrees. We were delivering New Testaments, Christmas toys and candy to about 400 families that were living in shacks along the railroad tracks in Mexico. No electricity, no running water, no bathrooms, blankets for doors, little furniture if any. Dozens of kids hovered around the vans, but we had been instructed to tell them “en su casa” “in your house” to get these gifts, so that way we wouldn’t run out by giving double to one child and not having enough for those further down the tracks.
One of the vans had run out of candy and our van had some extra, so I heaved a large hefty bag of candy over my shoulder and started jogging up to the van about 40 yards ahead of us. It was a very full bag and with each step I could feel the plastic stretch and get thinner. About midway, the whole thing busted and candy spewed out all over the ground and as I looked up I saw about 30 kids running at me like it was an Olympic 50 yard dash!
My first thought was “bummer, this means a bunch of kids up the road aren’t going to get anything!” And then the face of Jesus was revealed to me. Every single one of those children stopped…and helped pick up the candy. Not one child put a single mint in their own pocket. I was dumbfounded. In the midst of the worst poverty I have ever been witness to, these kids still thought of their friends down the road first and of helping someone in need. Jesus’ compassion poured over all that candy and from that point on, the blessings of His Love have been in my heart and I have joyfully signed up for a Mexico trip every year.
Postscript – 13 years later….I am the Missions Director for our church and now in relationship with 12 other churches and ministries in Mexico including those that serve the families along the railroad track. I have also learned about empowerment, sustainability and teaching to fish (but still sharing our bounty). We are flying down to Mexico this weekend to celebrate the graduation of a seminary student that we’ve known since she was a little girl at one of our VBS missions in Reynosa and we’ve been supporting her education. I pray each day for all the partners all over the world that we’ve met, but I especially pray to stay in God’s will and keep my eyes open to see the face of Jesus wherever I am blessed to go.