This morning, we began our day like we always do--with a time of devotion and prayer. As you have seen in previous blogs, we hear a scripture three times and reflect more deeply each time to connect with the scripture and our life. Today, we read a portion from Mark 12 which told the amazing story of Jesus watching people donate their money into the temple treasury. Many persons with wealth gave money to the offering but Jesus was especially moved by a very poor widow and her offering. She gave two coins which only amounted to a penny, but Jesus called his disciples together and shared that out of all the givers, this woman gave all she had. She gave generously even though she lived in poverty. Her gift was so powerful.
The story of the widow and her gift connected with us all week as the residents of Porvenir gave so much of themselves to us with a deep sense of welcome and hospitality. Yet today seemed to bring the reality of their generosity and gifts to me most profoundly. As we completed our second stove and began our third, I experienced the great gift of my team (Ryan and Taylor) as well as the amazing patience and wisdom of our mason, Santiago. I realized he could easily have done the project more quickly and efficiently by himself, but he gave the gift of himself to us each day and especially this day so that we might learn new things, build a relationship with him and our families, and leave Guatemala as more faithful people.
I experienced the deep gift of generosity each day as our host families (those receiving the stoves) purchased drinks and snacks for us a twice a day--even though they live with so little and struggle to support their families every day. Yet today, that generosity became even more apparent to me as our families gave each of us a very beautiful gift. As I opened the gift this evening, I was moved to tears as I realized that this simple gift was far more generous and beautiful than any gift I had ever received in my life. The story from Mark 12 became alive for me in the final party with our dear friends in Porvenir.
As we drove away in the back of two trucks and left our friends behind, I realized that I have indeed left a part of myself behind. I have been transformed by the living Christ who is so present here in my friends in Guatemala. I think I can say that is true for all of our team. I pray that we will live our lives with more generosity and embrace our faith with a heart that befriends and empowers the poor in all places--even in our own community. Again, the widow offered the most generous gift....and the world was never the same. May it be so.