Thursday, September 04, 2008

Deanna and Whitney

I want to share a letter we received from Deanna's older brother. His name is Dan and he and his wife Jolene are pastoring a church in Tuxpan, Mexico. They live the lifestyle of missionaries.

They have been there a few months. Jolene speaks Spanish well and Dan is learning. This letter from them will give a glimpse as to what their lives look like as they serve the Lord with their whole hearts.

Dear friends and family,

Sleep eludes me tonight because of a story I need to share.

Last Thursday evening, Jolene and I and three adults from the church returned to Juana Moza, a community off the beaten path in northern Tuxpan. We had a wildly successful VBS there in July and they begged us to return. We loaded the truck with tables and chairs and headed out. Since the community center was not available, we met under the mango trees.

When we arrived, a few people were already congregated. We unloaded and got things ready for Bible Study and crafts. More and more children and adults arrived bringing food and drinks. There, under the shade of 80 year old fruit trees we sang choruses, prayed, and shared the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den with adults and children. Jolene and I led the adults and the children were taken a few feet away to also be told the story of Daniel and work on a craft project.

We took some of the Bibles Uncle Joe and Aunt Margaret bought for us. I was impressed how reverently they held and turned the pages of the new Bibles. We read together the story in Daniel 6, then had discussion and questions. There were about 15 adults in our group. I talked and Jolene translated. I asked how many of them had heard the story before. Not one of them had ever heard these words! They eagerly read and gave their total attention during the discussion, asking and answering questions. Afterward, the group stood in a circle and we prayed. Then, like good Baptists, we ate food together. They brought tamales wrapped in banana tree leaves, and a drink made from rice water, cinnamon and sugar. It was all very good.

They requested that if possible could we bring some diapers for an elderly, bed-ridden lady in the community. The next day one of the men from our church brought by two packs of diapers and asked us to take it to them, since he could not. Jolene and I headed out again. It had rained very heavily during the night, so the truck slipped and slid and once I thought we were stuck, but the trip went fine.

We were led in the mud to a very humble one room home. The walls were made of bamboo with mud and straw plastered between the bamboo poles. The roof was rusted corrugated tin and the floor was hard-packed dirt. We walked through an opening that had no door. Inside were three beds and little other furniture. There was a huge chest of drawers with many religious artifacts on it. Three elderly widows in their eighties live there. One is bed-ridden. All three were skin and bone thin. The woman in the bed was mostly under a blanket with her boney legs protruding out. They eagerly got us chairs to sit in and then the talking started.

At times all three talked at once. Jolene was able to communicate quite well. About all I said was hello and good-bye. When I shook hands with the bed-ridden lady as we were leaving, she held on tight and would not let go! As I looked in her eyes, they were full of tears and she asked us not to go, and even asked one of the other ladies to get us some coffee.

This simple visit has had quite an impact on me. Here I am, dreaming and talking of buying land and building buildings, and there are people here who have never heard the story of Daniel! There are lonely, starving, widows who crave our attention and just wanted us to be with them! I'm ashamed of my American arrogance and my lack of vision to see the needs right in my face. Oh, I believe my dreams will come true one day, but TODAY, TODAY, some people only want diapers and a little of my time.

God, forgive me!

Thank you Dan and Jolene for your faithfulness to our Savior. The insights you gain and the love you pour out with your time are making a difference.

God be with you both as you overcome and help others to do likewise.



At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the letter. It reminds me so much of our same thoughts and things that happened when we were on the mission field. There were so many things I "wanted" and thought I "needed" to be a good missionary, but the only thing we needed to do was to share the Gospel and our time and love. I know exactly how he he feels! God bless you and thanks again!


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