Yesterday I walked the streets of that former landfill now known as Oasis. It was cloudy--one of those heavy clouds we see that promises rain, but never comes through for us; that's how it is in a desert. The volunteers with me looked at the rain and commented, "Looks like rain." "Yep," I said. "But don't count on it; it doesn't rain here." So we stood there on that sand and dirt street with an icy wind whipping us as though we had taken the last cookie from the cookie jar. My sweater, normally enough for me, barely served as a wind-breaker.
I sent my team out to pass out flyers of an upcoming concert we will have in the area. While they passed out flyers, smiling and nodding (not one spoke any Spanish), I proceeded to walk amongst the people I have grown to love and enjoy being around. I played with children, boys and girls alike. I exchanged slaps on the back with the men. I hugged and kissed the ladies (ahem! on the cheek). More than once I heard, "Where have you been? Have you abandoned us?" I explained that I had been out taking care of other ministries. That was not good enough. They want a better explanation. So I used the "E" word: earthquake. Then they understood.
Before long, I found myself talking to Mario. Mario is 84. He has cancer. He is tired of living in pain. I offered to pray. It was all I could do; I don't have $100 a month for the pills they said would prolong his life. I prayed, asking God to bless Mario. He interrupted me, "It's Mario RODRIGUEZ." He wanted to be sure God blessed the right Mario. I told God I knew he heard what Mario had just said. I asked for strength, peace, and healing. Before praying I asked Mario if he knew the Lord Jesus; he told me he knew him with all his heart. It's much easier to pray for a man who says he knows the Lord.
Then I wandered down a narrow alley till I found Judith. Judith is a beautiful 18-year-old (approximately) who just gave birth to an even more beautiful baby girl. "Come see my baby," she said, excitedly. I stooped and went into the small straw mat hut with dirt floors. Theirs is better than some; they have three rooms. It was warm enough inside (thankfully). There, in the middle of the only bed they own, lay that precious baby. Judith looked up with proud, but pleading eyes. "Please pray for Chris; she has a lung infection and a blood infection." I did. Chris cried all the way through, sneezing from time to time. I told Judith I would be back. Judith has her own health needs. I know some doctors who plan to help meet them.
Everywhere I went, God used me to meet some need in someone's life. Everywhere I went, the people asked if I would be there that Sunday. I told them I would try. And I will. After all, you cannot plant a church down here if you do not walk among the people, seeking ways to meet them where they are.
I walked back to the main road, ignoring the most recent bite from the winter winds that blew around me. It was a good day. It was a "God" day.