I did another “Amandaism” as my friend (and scorekeeper of my blunders) Amy Hill says. I lost a week in May and thought today was May 30. So, Gloria showed up this morning, arms filled with groceries, to cook lunch for the arriving guests a week early! (Dulce is at a couples retreat this weekend.) Oops. So, we had time to chat. Well, I had time to listen to Gloria talk about God. Spending time with her is like getting a spiritual booster shot! She is so full of the spirit, so in love with the Lord that it just bubbles out of her. She loves to talk about Him! I decided to get her take on something that amazes and baffles me: How is it that the poorest of the poor, who suffer so much have so much faith? I asked a Honduran pastor this question once and he responded, “Because we set our sights on the next life, not this one.” That helped alot but I still wanted to know more.
When I asked Gloria the question she took off. People suffer because they don’t know God. They love money, they don’t love God. (the Un-prosperity Gospel) They get involved in drugs and alcohol. They are greedy. She went on along those lines, indicting the government and anyone who puts earthly desires before God. I agreed with her in all this but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I asked again. “How is it that people who are so poor and suffer so much have such a profound faith?” Her eyes widened. “Oh, you mean people who suffer economically?” Then my eyes widened and filled with tears. You see, to Gloria, there are two entirely different types of suffering. The worst type, the most important type, the type we must devote our time, attention, and prayers to is spiritual suffering. That is what this devoted daughter of the Most High, this woman who until recently only had 3 walls in her one room house with massive gaps between the roof and the top of the walls where water rushes in during the raining season, this is what she is most concerned about – the spiritual suffering of people around her. She doesn’t see the gang members and the corrupt government officials as bad guys. She sees them as spiritually impoverished and suffering deeply.
About those who suffer economically? She had several answers. God sends people (like all of you who support LAMB – she calls you the body of Christ) to help. She tithes, no matter how small her salary is and, in response, God provides. (She had a job before LAMB in which she got paid $65 a month and she still tithed. “God provided and I could pay my debts, utilities, everything. I don’t know how. God provided.”) “For us, God is everything.” Isn’t that what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34*? Have you ever met anyone who actually believed and lived those verses? Gloria does. Everyone who has met Gloria knows what a beautiful spirit she has. She cleans up our messes everyday with a sweet smile, she is the one who cares for the sick team members staying at Casa LAMB while the rest of us go to work, she is the one who drops to her knees,wherever she is, to pray for someone in need. If we followed Gloria’s example of her un-prosperity gospel – to put God first in our lives and trust Him completely – how rich we would be. Spiritually rich.
I told her I was writing about our conversation. She just ran up to tell me to include this bit of advice, based on a vision she had in 2010. Put your heart and soul into your worship. Don’t be afraid of showing emotion and enthusiasm! Love God with all your heart!
From now on, whenever I say “Gloria a Dios” (Glory to God) it will have an extra meaning as I also thank God for bringing Gloria into my life!