Friday, April 14, 2017

Be ready

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”  (Matthew 24:42-44)

This is not the only place in the Bible that exhorts us to be ready, that Jesus will return without warning.  I don’t spend much timing worrying about the end times, however.  After all, Jesus said:  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)  So, I do the best I can to love and serve the Lord and hope for the best. 

Living in Honduras has brought a new, and immediate, meaning to “be ready.”   Two weeks ago I was puttering around in the evening when I got a text message from Suzy.  “David and Evelyn lost the baby.”  No warning, out of the blue.  Early the next morning I arrived at their church for the velorio (wake.)  Suzy had been there since 7 am, others all night.  The Hondurans knew just what to do.  They are always ready.  More and more people were arriving.  “How did they find out,” I wondered.  Most people don’t have internet at home so a group email was not an option.  I didn’t see Dulce and Gloria (Casa LAMB household staff) and I thought I should call them.  No need, they were already cooking for an indeterminate number of people.  I saw clients from our micro-credit program and Jose Luis and Ariel, construction workers from the Children’s Home, were there.  How in the world did they know?  Somehow the word is spread far and wide when a tragedy happens.  The Hondurans have an instinctive and immediate response of love and support.  They are always ready to drop everything and go.

It is not only in the sad times that the Hondurans are ready.  The children at the Children’s Home are always ready.    I can’t walk more than about 3 steps with something in my hands before a child, even a very small child, runs up and takes it from me, always ready to help.  The older children are always watching the younger ones, ready to rescue a child from danger or pick up a crying child.  I can’t count how many (microscopic) bites of food I have had, offered by a dirty, sticky little hand, always ready to share.   They are always ready to give a hug, a smile, or other expression of their love.

We were still reeling from the loss of the baby when another text arrived on Tuesday evening.  “Dony’s father was murdered.”  Again, I got a lesson on being ready.

Be ready to provide food and coffee for the people coming to the velorio.   Food arrived from many people.  The women, of course, knew just what to do.  Soon coffee and sweet bread were being passed around while another group of women were preparing a hot meal for later in the day.

Be ready to arrange flowers for the velorio.  Someone arrived with arms full of cut flowers.  A teenage girl and some women who live across the alley from the church hastily gathered empty coke liter bottles, cut them in half, and filled them with flowers.   They made an arrangement around the casket, the containers disappearing in the beauty of the vibrant flowers. 

Be ready to find and purchase tall candles for either side of the casket.   Karen B. had arrived to spend a week playing with the children and bonding with her sponsored teenage girl.  Instead, we were driving across town to find velorio candles which she contributed to add reverence and dignity to the deceased.

Be ready to leave vacation (all of Honduras is on vacation during Holy Week) to stand together with your friend and co-worker.  Spending the day and all  night keeping watch. 

Be ready to provide financial support.  C., a frequent visitor saw the terrible news and immediately wired money to me for Dony’s family.  She couldn’t be here so she did what she could.

Be ready to lead a memorial service at a moment’s notice.  Suzy, of course having no lead time to plan, got up and led a memorial service for everyone present.  We sang, she ready scripture, and Jackie, the principal of our school, led us spontaneously in a beautiful prayer. 

The next morning, we were in my car on the main street in Flor waiting for the funeral procession to start.  Dony came over and leaned into the car to talk.  Suddenly an older man, slightly drunk and reeking of alcohol, joined us.  He tearfully told us his story. He has no family, his mother abandoned him when he was young.  He thinks God loves him but he isn’t sure.  Sometimes he wants to “leave this world…”  He is afraid of death, but even more afraid of not being loved. Dony, on his way to his father’s funeral, began sharing the Good News with this man, assuring him that Jesus loves him, that He will never leave him.  Dony, even at the worst moment in his life, was ready.

Am I ready?  Are you ready?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these stories, Amanda! They add a new perspective on "be ready".


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