Friday, September 17, 2010

A tale of hunger, filth, cookies, kindness, and snot

This morning, I managed the cafe because our morning managers needed to travel to Quito. Fortunately, it was very slow (read: dead) in the early part of the morning, because I was by myself, and I am not sure how I could have taken orders, made orders, and delivered orders on my own.

But no worries, soon, John arrived to help me.

We talked about the protest in the park while waiting on customers. John is incredibly patient. "What?" was the thing I said the most.

A bit later a small child came in and asked me for something. I was pretty sure he was begging for food, which, as a policy, we do not give, but I needed John's help with this one.

"John, there is a little boy here. I think he wants food."
"We can not give food." replied John.
"I know, but can you talk to him? I am not sure that is what he is asking for."

So, John went to speak with the child and I followed. Sure enough, the boy was asking for food.
He was hungry, he said.
A child. Hungry.
We are the hands of Christ. Sometimes, I feel like we are also the pockets of Christ.

A hungry child. And I, with a kitchen of food behind me, and a policy (a necessary one) to keep that food inside the kitchen.

But the child? He said he was hungry.

I listened as John explained to the child that El Sendero was a ministry, and that because of that, we did not have the profit to be able to feed him. That our prices were very low so that as many people as possible could afford to eat.

"It's a ministry." John said.

A ministry with the need to turn away a hungry child.

"I would like you to get a cookie. The chocolate kind." John said to me.

I said nothing, just stepped into the kitchen and retrieved a chocolate cookie (our best ones. Chocolate WITH chocolate chips).

I looked out the window to the cash register and saw John retrieve .30 cents from his own pocket, and ring up an order for one galletas en barras.


Sometimes I get to see Christ in action.

Through the hands. And the pockets of someone else.

Sometimes, I am humbled to see the love one Christian young man (15 years old) can have for a child who has yet to meet the Savior.
This afternoon, two beggars stopped to talk to me. They wanted coke-a-cola. They wanted the bike they saw in my yard. They wanted shoes. They wanted clothes. They wanted a can of tuna.

I had all of those things. I have given all those things (except the bike) to beggars in the past. But, this afternoon, I was not being asked by the Holy Spirit to be the pocket of Christ. He was asking of me, something different.

I looked at these two beggars and wondered what I had to give them.

"What are you names?" I asked.
The answer was imperceptible.

"How old are you?"

The little one was 6. SIX YEARS OLD. The younger, yet much larger child was 5.

"Where so you live?" Do you go to school? Where is your mama?" I fired off questions.

The littlest girl, the oldest girl, was sick. Her stomach was extended over her elastic-waisted pants. Her face, arms, and belly were full of sores. These girls were not fake beggars. Their life was one of poverty and hardship.

Their mama was bathing in the river.

I sat and talked with them.

The littlest girl... the oldest one sneezed on me. She sprayed me with herself and I gagged. I was ashamed and longed to take a shower, and yet I stayed. I talked, I asked, I answered.

No. I can not give you the bike.
No. I do not have a can of tuna for you today.
I am sorry. But I can not give you our coke. It is for my family.

And yet they stayed. They asked more questions. They answered more questions. And then, after a while, they left. They did not repeat their request for food, or clothes, or even the bike.

Because, they were full.

I gave them nothing they could carry back. Nothing to fill their extended malnourished bellies. Nothing to clothe their backs.

Because, sometimes we are not the pockets of Christ.

Sometimes, we are simply his voice. His hands.

Sometimes we are simply His acceptance in spite of our spittle on His face.


Michelle said...

You brought me to tears. God bless you, friend. And may God bless the young man who gave his own money for a cookie.

MommyMia said...

Oh Becka your words from God's mouth break my heart. I love you and am so grateful for your ministry.

Jerusalem said...

that is beautiful!

i am going to share this w R Street next week. so beautiful!