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You Cannot Imagine Who You Will Meet!

  You Cannot Imagine Who You Will Meet!

 by: Sandra Hammes, Christ For the City International, Central Office Staff

I have been on short-term mission (STM) trips, received STMs, and led STMs. Each one is different and teaches me something new about the Lord.

 On a short-term trip I met a little girl in Costa Rica in an area called Guarari de Heredia. The area is really poor, filled with drugs, prostitution, and hopelessness. I had been to this area before but did not remember or recognize the child when she came running to give me a hug the first day we arrived. She planted herself next to me during the first meeting we had in the church, and wanted to hold my hand. After meeting her mother, I realized I did know Libby.  The STM team worked in the church for several days and Libby hardly left my side. It was so evident that she was really starved for love and attention. I could tell that her mother cared for her so I was a little surprised at her level of need. However, that idea vanished when I was invited to her home. We had to descend some very steep stairs, cross a rickety bridge, and follow a narrow, windy path between shacks and the drop to the dirty river, until we came to the end of the small valley. There hugging the mountain wall, was Libby’s house. House?  Well, that is what the family called it. We were greeted with a warm welcome and invited in. Dirt floors, tin outer walls on three sides and the mountain on the fourth, a bare bulb hanging in the middle, and a little cardboard to separate sleeping areas. This was HOME to Libby, her mother, two sisters and three brothers. My friend and I were given the only two chairs they had and offered a sweet drink. The family was so honored we would come. It is seldom anyone comes to visit at the end of the valley. We did not stay as long as they would have liked to have us stay. It was so evident that they really felt special because we came. But it was us who felt honored and special. To be given the only two chairs and to be welcomed so warmly was more than either of us could really comprehend. And to top it off, the mother insisted on praying for us before we left. She prayed blessings on us. Imagine that! We who had so much and she so very little (or in the world’s view she has so very little).  Libby and I still correspond through the CFCI missionary, and she still calls me Abuela, grandmother. She told me that she has never had a grandmother and that she loved calling me that. I am fortunate to have several natural grandchildren and now lots of adopted ones like Libby. You could go on a short-term mission trip and find a child like Libby who needs a special friend to pray for him/her. That does not mean to send or give money, prayer is what they need. Prayer that they may break out of the mold of poverty, drugs, prostitution and hopelessness. Through prayer we can remove the hopelessness and replace it with the love of God that will give a child the tools necessary to have a useful, Christ-filled life.




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