Before 3:00 pm I heard three different people tell about their faith. They are in three very different places with their faith, and it was such a drastic comparison.
We began the day with a devotion from Ronald, a CEC student. He has a special relationship with God. I have been learning about joy from him throughout CEC. He spoke to us about the faith of Bartimaeus in Mark 10: 46-52. After getting Jesus’ attention by shouting at him, Bartimaeus threw away his cloak, jumped up, and went to Jesus. Jesus asked what Bartimaeus wanted him to do for him. I want to see, he says, and Jesus declares that his faith has healed him. So what is it that we want Jesus to do for us? This man shouted to Jesus when the rest of the world told him to be quiet. This man threw aside what could have been his only possession in order to go to Jesus. This man wanted to see, but it wasn’t simply his desire that healed him, it was his faith. What do you want from Jesus? Are you willing to ask him? What do I want? I want to see as well. I feel blind to so many things here. I feel like I have eyes but I can’t really see what is happening. I have ears but I don’t understand what is really going on. Please, God, open my eyes as well.
Our morning activity was visiting some of the families of the kids in the Compassion program. I went with some of the girls across the street. Two of the kids are sponsored. They live in a home with mother, father, aunt, and cousins. The father drives flotas (like charter buses) and is likely gone quite a bit. The family said they were semi-practicing Catholics and seemed like they had been judged and hurt by the Protestant church. They wanted little to do with the church, although they were very kind to us. We prayed for the family, enjoyed Tampico (juice), and then left them to the tasks of the day. It was sad to hear about their sorrows, hardships, and relationship with the church, but the silver lining was in joining them in prayer and hearing the girls I was with speaking about God.
Every day we have been eating lunch with the Compassion students. I have been getting to know the kids in my classroom, and they invited me to their homework time to help them with their English homework. When I got there, however, they didn’t seem to want have homework. Instead, we took a field trip to play indoor volleyball, which I believe is called Wally here. To incorporate a bit of learning, I kept score in English and between games we talked about certain English concepts. It was definitely a fun chance to bond.
After lunch we went to visit a woman from the church. Her son has been in the Compassion program for quite awhile. Because of his involvement with the program, she became involved with the church. She had a strong faith, praying for perseverance and healing. We prayed for her and enjoyed Coke and crackers.
When we got back to the church, some ladies were preparing vegetables for tomorrow’s lunch. I sat with them, spoke all the Aymara I know, and then laughed with them in more understandable Spanish as we pealed peas and habas (which look like giant lima beans but taste much better!).
In the evening we had a church service in the church. To my delight, three of my little friends from the plaza last night came! They don’t go to church, and they didn’t know about Jesus, but they sang as we sang, clapped as we clapped, and danced as we danced. They kept their eyes on the people in front or on me to see what I was doing. I watched these kids that were made to praise but just didn’t know it. Nancy, my other buddy from the plaza, came at the end as well. I hope they keep coming.