I carried that message – that question – close to my heart for those 5 days in Guatemala as the Lord and I continued an ongoing conversation.
And on the last day of ministry, as we arrived at the abuelo’s (grandpa’s) home for those of an older generation that needed care, but had mostly been abandoned by their families, while I still didn’t necessarily “feel” much different, I had a deep appreciation for the peace that came with simply knowing … that He was God, that I was there because He invited me to join Him there, and that He was enough.
After painting the nails of some of the women at the home, I sat down with one of my teammates, Sara, who had struck up a conversation with two adorable ladies … one of whom was 96 and blind. She made sure to tell us that several times. Her name was Nina. And she was precious.
Even with the language barrier, we managed to have a decent conversation that was filled with our limited Spanish vocabulary, the help of Google translate, many smiles and so. much. laughter. I think those ladies were quite amused by the way we pronounced our limited Spanish with southern accents!
After more-or-less exhausting our conversation abilities, Sara moved across the outdoor hallway that surrounded a beautiful courtyard to visit with another gentleman and I moved from my spot on the floor to the empty chair right beside Nina.
I hadn’t been there longer than about a minute when she reached for my hands and pulled them both closer to her, so she could rub my hands and arms.
It was such a simple gesture on her part, but in a way I can’t quite explain was such a huge blessing for me.
And that seemed so backwards.
Because wasn’t I supposed to be there to bless and to serve her? Not the other way around?
I couldn’t help but think this must of have been a small taste of how the disciples felt that night at the last supper when Jesus washed their feet.
As if it wasn’t supposed to be that way.
But it was supposed to be that way, and it was right.
And so was this small moment with Nina.
She expressed to one of our leaders how grateful she was that we were there … that we were taking the time to just sit with her, to just be with her.
And in that moment, I knew with even more certainty that this trip back to Guatemala, one that was full of questions on my heart and full of moments that were tempting to view as small and insignificant (but somehow weren’t at all), wasn’t about me.
It was about the Lord moving in and through me to do the work and have the encounters that He had prepared in advance.
All He needed from me was obedience and trust.
And this obedience, this walking out the Gospel in the small interactions that I have with those who cross my everyday path … some who I’ll almost definitely see again and others who I almost certainly will not?
This is what this life is all about.
Seeking Christ, following Him where He leads, and being fully present in each moment with each individual He places before us.
And yes, sitting with Nina as she rubbed my hands was an incredibly small moment, but it was entering into her world, being present with her there, and loving her well.
And that really wasn’t small at all.
This is how we’re called to live. To enter into the mess and uncertainty of relationship. To do life with others. To sit with them where they are.
So I held hands with a 96-year-old Abuela in Guatemala. And I know that we were both sitting in the presence of Jesus the whole time.