Did you ever write an essay about what you did on vacation? “I went to DisneyWorld/on a cruise/to Europe/skiing…” Last week was a national holiday week. Yesterday I had coffee with Gloria, our housekeeper. I asked her that same question. I have written about Gloria before. She is kind of the unsung hero of Casa LAMB. The teams, sadly, don’t get much exposure to her. She arrives in the morning as they are eating breakfast and leaves before they get back in the afternoon. The few that get sick and stay home for the day are the beneficiaries of her tender care and delicious chicken soup. Gloria is many things besides a great housekeeper. She is a prayer warrior, the likes of which I have never seen. She is an inspiring preacher over a cup of coffee or casual encounter. She is very humble and she is very poor.
What did Gloria do on vacation? She and her husband, Nelson, took a long bus ride to Choluteca to minister to the extremely poor. They gathered whatever they could and spent the week in one of the hottest and poorest parts of Honduras. They have very little to give in terms of material goods but share enormous spiritual gifts with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Nelson had worked in Choluteca for about a year awhile ago and has never forgotten the people there. They spent the week in fellowship, evangelizing, and fasting and praying for the people. She brought a plastic soccer ball to the children, the only one they had. (Real soccer balls are very expensive here.) A teenager asked Gloria if she would bring him “tacos” or soccer cleats. It may seem like a frivolous request but soccer here is everything for a teenaged boy. His prospects are bleak. He has scaled his dreams down to a pair of tacos. Gloria promised she would bring him some next time, “Por fe,” she said. “Through faith” she knows God will provide the cleats.
She recounted an amazing story about an elderly man who had been desperately ill for a long time. He couldn’t move, had difficulty eating and was near death. Gloria and Nelson fasted and prayed. Nelson annointed him with oil as they fasted and prayed some more. Miraculously, he sat up! He started eating and drinking. He can move his arms and talk. It is reminiscent of when Peter healed the crippled beggar:
Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,stand up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Gloria has no silver or gold but abundantly gives what she has.
Gloria is the embodiment of the Beatitudes. Being with her gives me a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God…” Matthew 5:3-7