Recently my neighbor very kindly reminded me that I haven’t blogged in quite some time (thanks, Jordan J). But she is right. I am due for a blog post. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. It’s not that things aren’t happening and moving. The thing is, blogging feels tricky to me these days. The longer we are here, the more this place becomes home and the more these people in this corner of the world are my people. I live here. I work here. I love here. I can honestly say that I am coming to love it here. It has been a long journey for me to arrive at that point, but I can say now after 3 years and 9 months that I love this place. Living here now just feels like life. And people here are my friends. How do I write a blog post about my friends? It feels invasive somehow and not respectful. But. We serve an incredibly big and incredibly awesome God. And He is worth writing about. He is worth sharing about. He is worth SHOUTING about. Praise. You. Jesus. So tonight I write about him and shout his glory.
Have you ever had an experience that just blows you away, that renders you speechless? We have been attending a church started by missionaries that meets in the school building where I teach. It was started by missionaries but is currently being run by an incredible Honduran couple who moved into our area as missionaries of sorts from the country’s capital, Tegucigalpa. Their lives shout Jesus and we are so fortunate to work alongside them.
The church is a mixing of different people who have come to Bible studies led in the community and have decided to follow Jesus in a committed and faithful way. It is really amazing to see how the church has grown up. Because it is the result of these Bible studies in different communities, the people come from towns all along the coast. We help give people rides home after church.
Today after church Peter told me about the baptism that was happening and that the people who were riding in our car wanted to go to the baptism first before being taken home. To be completely honest, I didn’t want to go. Our girls have been sick, I’ve been short on sleep, I had a lot of work to do at school to prep for the week, Peter had some ministry stuff happening in the afternoon and I just wanted to go home and rest for an hour before starting our afternoon. However, I didn’t feel like we could say no, so we went.
We got to the beach and I saw the man who was being baptized. I had not met him or seen him before though I had noticed him in church because he had a scarf up around his neck and head. This seemed strange to me because of the heat and because scarves are usually reserved for women. When we arrived at the beach and I saw his face, I realized why he had a scarf. He has some sort of disease that has been eating away at his face. He had what looked to me like a hole in his face. I have never seen anything like it before in my life.
He is currently a patient in our hospital. He is from someplace up in the mountains of Honduras. He went to see a different doctor at a different hospital about a year ago. They did some testing and came to the conclusion that he has leishmaniasis, a parasite that eats away at your skin. Over the past year, the treatment they prescribed has not been working so he has come to our hospital to see if we can help him. We (and by we I mean the amazing doctors we have here, not me) have done some testing that has not been conclusive and are currently in the process of sending away for more testing so that he can get the help that he needs. He faces the very real possibility of having this disease for the rest of his earthly life. But Jesus. Today, today, he received the best treatment he could ever receive. He received Jesus: his salvation, his love, his grace, his forgiveness.
This man is in so much pain. Can you imagine? Something is eating away at your skin, your face, making it difficult and next to impossible to eat and talk? And you know what he was saying through the baptism? “Praise Jesus. My sins are washed away. Praise Jesus. My sins are washed away.”
I am undone. Jesus. Life is so hard and so full of pain. But Jesus. Physical pain. Emotional pain. Heartache. Loss. But Jesus. If that man can praise and thank Jesus, so can I. Jesus. You are good. You are faithful. In the midst of life, the good, the bad, the pain, I will praise you. You, Jesus, only you.