A Time for Everything

We took a walk in Moca a few days ago. We strolled down paths that were dry and seemingly safe. The river that runs through the community was muddy, but peaceful. It actually appeared to be composed and amicable.

Truthfully, it was hard to believe that such a harmonious component of God’s creation could cause the turbulence it generated a few days ago.

As we trudged on through the recently hurricane wrecked village, some of the people explained, “I’ve lived here my entire life and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

It was difficult for me to accept.

The smooth, gentle water destroyed homes and ravished livelihoods of so many innocent dwellers just a few days ago. It rose several feet high with supernatural strength and swept away anything that collided with its path.

Homes, trees, farms, animals-the sustenance of life; was all gone in an instant.

As they all took turns to share their stories, my heart melted. Life, of late, has given me so many reasons to insist upon an icy heart, but it began to thaw as I took notice of my surroundings.

They sure had more reasons than me to complain, yet they all constantly thanked God for keeping them alive during the storm. They met death, yet safely parted. They valued their lives and the lives of their family and friends more than their loss. They have a true understanding of life’s worth.

Strangely, no one asked me for anything. They simply wanted to give God thanks for sparing them. They sure did a work on me!

As we began our adventure, I noticed one of our Moca church family’s crossing the river to get home. The bridge was knocked out during the storm and they had no other choice but to get wet in order to come to church. Mom, dad and baby had to walk through a river to get to church.

Let. It. Sink. In

I know that you and I have suffered too. I’ve been through quite a few things in life, but walking my family through a river to get to church has not yet made it my list of suffering. How about you?

We continued our journey. We wanted to visit our members who were affected by the storm. We wanted to reassure them of our love for them as they suffered. 

The trek to their homes was an eye opener for me. They faithfully take this journey more than once a week to worship God at our church.

Despair doesn’t stop them.

Discouragement didn’t turn them away.

They have to rebuild their lives with scarce tools, yet they carried on in stride.

The children collected avocados to sell. They still have hope.

When they were done gathering the fruit from the fallen tree, they played as children do. They remembered that there are still reasons to laugh-even when your house is washed away by a storm.

All of this has caused me to ponder upon life differently. Introspection leads my way lately.

What really matters? What am I striving for anyway? Why do I work so hard?

My husband’s recent sermon series lingers in my heart and in my mind right now. “There is a time for everything,” he confidently tells our churches, “…a time to laugh, a time to cry…”

His repeated words of the wise man beat within my heart tonight.

What am I doing with my time? How have I helped those who are crying today?

As he continues to read from the book of Ecclesiastes, my heart pounds and pauses for a second, “…for He (God) has placed eternity in the hearts of man…” 

My goal, my passion, my reason for being, my all should be focused on eternity as I walk through each moment in time. I think that our Moca friends understand that truth.

Their hearts are set on eternity.

They painlessly accepted their reality. They took God’s word to heart and faced their “time” with courage.

“Oh Lord, make me more like them,” was really all I could say as I walked away.

The river glided along in its peaceful fashion and life continued as usual. But I left that place with a new heart that’s ever so more determined to make every moment count and to make each occasion stretch into eternity.

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Someone Else

After my dinner of cream of broccoli soup, I eagerly nestled under my blankets.

 

I was tired.

 

I knew the night would feel long and dreary so I wanted to get a head start on my sleep.

Tonight would be the second consecutive night of hurricane winds. We are used to the howl of strong winds up here during hurricane season. The night before felt treacherous as the wind gushed against our home.

 

We could even feel our house shake at times.

The rain on the tin roof and the might of the powerful river only added to our anxiety. Tonight would be the same.

 

Another sleepless night.

 

Fear doesn’t keep me awake during storms. My husband went to great lengths to secure our safety up here on HOPE Mountain.

The bolstering wind and rain are simple reminders of the fact that I’m pretty safe here during storms.

My children snuggled in the room next to me. My other children were safe and accounted for. They all had dinner before nestling into their warm, confortable beds.

Yet, I faced another sleepless night.

I drank a cup of tea to help me relax. My hubby was on edge too. I blended a few of my favorite essential oils for relaxation and gave him a foot massage. Those oils work! He was out fast!

Yet, I stared at the ceiling. My mind wandered with questions focused on the same theme.

I knew that Jesus Ramos, one of our Moca church members, lost his house right after the last storm.

Why didn’t I move faster?

 

His children didn’t have a warm bed that night like mine. I’m not sure if they had a warm meal before bed.

I had been so caught up in my own life. I was so busy helping to run this ministry all the while forgetting that the “running” of it all is for Jose Ramos and others like him.

 

Sleep escaped me.

 

My heart actually hurt.

Why didn’t I move quicker?

“Lord, forgive me,” I prayed, “I know what it takes to help Jesus and his family yet I didn’t do it. Please give me another chance.”

 

Still, I was awake.

 

Wind pounded the wood that lines our mountain home. Trees leaned back and forth throughout the night. Roof tops shook and fought to stay put. The dogs howled all night. It was too loud for me to sleep.

The girls dorm flooded earlier that day so most of them were sleeping in the house. I couldn’t walk into my den to sit and read like I usually do on sleepless nights.

Instead I felt trapped by my lethargy.

I was too slow in finding aid for Jesus.

In a sense, I woke up!

 

I realized that I haven’t given enough.

The realization of the fact that my children were safe, fed and accounted for kind of made me feel privileged.

According to worldhunger.com, 66 million primary school-aged children attend classes hungry across the developing world. Habitat for Humanity says that 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing. The Global Slavery Index says that 30 million people are enslaved today!

Though Christianity remains the world’s largest religious group, still over half the world has no relationship with Christ.

 

It’s time for us to wake up!

 

If you have more than one outfit to wear and a meal that you can count on daily, you are privileged.

We can so easily get ourselves caught up in this world and so easily ignore the truth that faces us each day.

 

Someone else is hurting more than you right now.

 

There is someone else in more pain than you at the moment.

 

Another is hungry.

 

While you and I gleefully enjoy our own meals at home or at our favorite restaurant, someone else’s child is dying of hunger.

I know it’s a lot to take in.

 

I know that it’s easier to believe that you can get away with turning away from that truth.

 

I know that it’s easy to give a little so that we can feel better.

 

Yet, Christ gave His all!

Here on this earth, we are His hands and we are His feet.

 

Give a little more.

 

Give until it hurts.

 

Walk away from your comfort just a little bit more.

 

Someone else’s child was just sold at the Haitian/Dominican border.

 

Some other woman was just forced to commit an unthinkable act once again.

 

And we worry about what to wear tomorrow.

 

I’m not trying to make you feel bad. Take care of your family and of yourself first. Then teach your family and yourself to help someone else.

W.A.K.E UP!!!

 

This is real!

 

People made with flesh and blood like you and me are suffering and you really can help.

Your small dent and my little chip in the wall of world suffering will make a difference because it would be multiplied by God.

 

He multiplies at the exponential level. Like the little boy who gave his fish and bread. Like the shepherd boy who used his slingshot and stone. Like Mary who simply said, “Yes.”

All you and I have to do is allow Him to use our little. He can take what is small and cause it to grow.

Jesus Ramos lost his house in a storm and we will soon begin to rebuild his house because we did what we knew to do to help.

He came to our church because we first helped someone else in his village when they lost their house because of a storm. That person led Jesus to Christ which led him to be baptized here on HOPE Mountain way before this current disaster occurred.

All because we started in that community with one!

 

Just do something!

Someone else needs you right now.

Stop focusing on your problems, though they seem insurmountable.

Stop bringing up the past.

Stop licking your wounds.

 

Wake up. Get up. Show up.

 

Allow God to use you right where you are.

Make yourself useful across the globe as well!

Tonight we’ll have Dominican hot chocolate with a freshly baked cinnamon torta for dinner. We will then snuggle up under our sheets with our secured roof over our heads.

 

And we’ll do our part to ensure the same for Jesus Ramos and others like him.

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