Hands and house

Hands and house

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Solomente Uno

    I have been silent on here for quite awhile, just letting things simmer in my heart and mind. Each time we return from Baja, I find myself with less answers and more to chew on, less assurance that I have much to offer and more amazement in what I have seen.
    One phrase seems to keep rolling around in my mind. I find myself pulling it out, sometimes savoring it, sometimes examining it like a strange and wonderful treasure I hardly understand.
    On the day we left for Baja, a friend gave us a gift. Tons of facepaint and 1,500 glitter tattoos. I had never seen a glitter tattoo before much less applied one to another human being. After a quick tutorial, I threw the box in our burgeoning car and we headed south.

    Weeks later, sitting on the beach in Baja surrounded with supplies we packed up for an epic adventure. 6 days on 4wd roads to visit 14 different villages.

We really knew next to nothing about what we were going to experience. Every year our hearts have longed to get off the main highway in Baja and see what life was in the mountains beyond. Through a crazy series of events we stumbled upon a church last year. We showed up at the church which was held in a tiny bar.

A few days later they were heading to a boarding school to spend the night, do a weenie roast and be a part of the kid's Posada (Christmas celebration). So when they asked who was coming Doug and I looked at each other and raised our hands!

We didn't know anyone and they certainly didn't know us but that 24 hours period at a little boarding school in the mountains of Baja sealed the deal, we wanted to go wherever these crazy people were going! So we begged to come this year on the 6 day mystery trip.
     I still struggle to wrap words around the adventure we had. We saw life, this world, people, community, nature like never before. Parts deep within all of us have been irrevocably altered and we are still exploring the new territory within our own hearts.

   At each stop the kids would jump out of the car loaded with fists full of glitter tattoos. Typically then, Georgia would flash a big old grin and show off her own glittery tattooed arm...and the swarm would begin. Some of my favorite memories of that trip were standing with Ravenna surrounded by children waiting to be tattooed. Watching her spout off, "Que quienes? Que color?" and inevitably..."Solomente Uno!"

     Solomente Uno. Only One. Because you see, I have a feeling we would still be at that first village, fingers aching and covered in glitter if we hadn't set a limit. What kid doesn't love a glittery dragon, pony, heart or crown bedazzling every inch they can find?
     Solomente Uno. It rings in my head almost constantly. The phrase glitters and sparkles making me want more.
    Solomente Uno. Only One.
   Baja radiates the exotic, the juxtaposition of limitless arid desert that gives way in the blink of an eye to lush oasis valleys that most of the world has never seen. Raw salt flats reflecting the sun's glory give way to villages of people with tenderness in their eyes. Humble buildings reveal communities content to have each other and just enough.

    There is another treasure in Baja hardly ever seen. People stepping forth to help others, one at a time. Solomente Uno.

 It comes in the form of the pastor bringing a woman two goats so she can support her family, and coming back every year to bring more goat feed and to celebrate as her grandchildren grow.

 It is a man spending months stopping at schools, playing with the children, listening to the teachers, finding out what they need. It is that same man driving hundreds of miles to get those supplies and bring them back.

It is a woman named Laura who cares so deeply for a widowed rancher that it brings him tears of joy when he see her.

It is that same rancher turning around and telling us, "I don't have much to offer but I have my land and will gladly share it with you to camp on." It is that beautiful man joining hands with us to pray in different languages to the same God.

 It is a woman who spends her spare time drive to remote villages with a trunk full of eyeglasses bringing people the ability to read for the first time in years.

It is the man who when asked, "Do you have adult diapers?" by an elderly woman who can barely walk, pulls out his notebook and writes down to remember to bring her a full supply when he drives back through.

It is a pastor who loves the children of Baja so much that he seeks out every opportunity to don a Santa suit, hug each child, look them in the eyes and tell them the real meaning of Christmas....every year for 15 years.

Solomente Uno is a couple who are giving their lives to live in a tiny room and raise 25 children all from lives that have been battered and bruised.

It is a group of retired people camping on the beach hearing about orphans in Baja then digging through their trailers and pockets to give anything they can to help out.

Choosing poverty...picking up a moving to the poorest area in a very poor town in order to reach out to those living in the trash dump and the children living nearby. Solomente Uno.

It is a man who used to drive the bus to pick up migrant children, knowing that during the holiday they would not have enough food. That same man using his own funds and asking others to help to buy and deliver food to these children who sometimes go for 2-3 days with nothing to eat.

   While driving down a dusty street to deliver food to the children with none, I asked my friend question after question about the area, the needs, other ministries and how to best help. In response he said, "The first time I heard these kids would go for days without food, I went home and I wept. I just couldn't believe it. I spoke with my pastor about what I should do in the face of so much need and he told me, do the one thing God is leading you to do. Fill that one need."
    Solomente Uno.
Solomente Uno.  I had the honor witnessing these people pouring their lives out. No big titles, no fancy websites, no matching t-shirts. Just people stepping out and doing one thing at a time to show God's love. Solomente Uno.
What they are doing is not easy. It takes moxy to sleep in tents at a goat ranch in the middle of nowhere Baja. A sleepy morning sipping coffee at home would be easier than loading a car up with reading glasses and hitting the dirt road. A car gets stinky and scratched up when loaded down with goat feed. Adult diapers are not small and take up a lots of room in a car.
 I always used to think if you were going to help or do 'ministry' it meant joining a group or having a big plan. But what if it really means saying yes to the need God is placing in front of me? What if we didn't wait for a big plan but just stepped in and started doing?
Solomente Uno.....for some of us that may look extreme like living near a trash dump, for some it may mean starting a mom's group, or a book study or befriending a group of teens. God has made us all so differently...but He has made us for a purpose, it may take some moxy, it probably should take some risk and hard work.
Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
Philippians 2:15



Justina Sharp said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. Such an encouragement that we start only need to start with one step of obedience.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am new to your blog. Enjoyed this entry. Praying

God bless you



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