It was almost an eery feeling as we pulled into Harrisburg Discipleship Center’s parking lot on Sunday night, July 17. It felt like we had never left – that we had just rewound 16 weeks as we entered the home where we trained for outreach. But now it was summer. And now we were entering the house as different people. We have not rewound. We have gone forward. Our team has been changed through this outreach experience. Each of us has grown. Each of us has learned. Each of us has found difficulties and blessings. It is good to be able to look back to see what God has had in store for us in our YES experience.
Now as we finish up re-entry, there is much we can look back on. God has brought us challenges to grow thru and joys to revel in. He has introduced us to people that change our outlook on life; people who we are excited to see who they will become. One of those children that we said good-bye to last week was Pani.
On our last morning at Matt’s house, we walked up the hill in Los Laureles – already feeling the heat of the day at 8:30am. Plans were to have devotions and prayer there before relaxing with the kids and heading back to pack. Normally a few kids will follow us up the hill as they see us enter the community, and normally we ask them to come back in an hour when we’re done with “our English meeting.” But this time, as Anuar (aka Pani) sat with Heather on the hammock, I offered him the chance to stay and read some Bible stories with us. After grabbing a Spanish New Testament from Matt’s house, Pani checked out what I was reading from Mark 6 – the stories of Jesus feeding the five thousand and Jesus walking on water. Then I suggested Pani skip back a chapter to read about Jesus healing the woman who had been subject to bleeding. I asked Pani what he thought about the fact that the woman just touched Jesus’ clothes and she was healed. “Yeah,” Pani smiled at me, “it’s because she had faith.” It struck me how our young friend Pani, eager to read the Bible with us, got it. In his young mind he wasn’t caught up in the fact that the woman got something out of the deal, but he understood that it was really about her faith in the Son of God. It’s awesome to see God working in the lives of people we now know and love.
Now, we have handed off the baton as it feels. While we read with Pani, Matt was inSan Pedro Sulameeting the Eby family. They are a sweet family with three fun loving children that will be in La Ceiba for a year. Now they will get to be friends with Pani. They will be able to connect with the girls of the community. They will see how God continues to work in our friends’ lives and will be a blessing to Matt in his long term work. We have finished our leg of the race. It has changed us and made us stronger. Now, just as God sent us to Los Laureles for a short time, he is sending us on.