Through the course of life we encounter thousands of people. We may not even be able to recall all of those we meet but one can be assured of one thing, we will always remember those that impacted our life. It could be our parents, school mates, teachers or even a twenty-three month old child. This last was definitely the case for me.
In the past week we welcomed another group of Americans who came to visit villages & provide a helping hand on the construction of a church building meant for activities and children's Bible school. This building was started by the local church, but as any other construction, funds were needed. Little did the church know that all the way back in North Carolina God was about to use a small boy to make a change and a difference. Within this group was the grandmother of this young boy called Eli. On Sunday night I had the honor to translate this women's testimony.
A little over a year ago this family encountered what is probably one of the most difficult trials a family could ever face. On Easter week of last year the family decided to take a family vacation to the mountains of North Carolina. It was a normal family vacation with laughter & outdoor fun. Little did they know that just around the corner their lives would be changed forever. Eli had some minor cold symptoms, nothing too major. The family decided to leave the mountains and take Eli to the hospital. It was nothing severe, but being a twenty-three month old child they wanted to make sure that everything was fine. Once at the hospital the family anxiously awaited the results. The grandmother told me that she peeked through the hospital doors only to find a group of doctors conducting CPR on Eli. She knew something was wrong. She overheard the doctor saying "...ten more minutes and we will have to call it...". I could not even imagine the sensation of watching this doctor walk out of the hospital doors with his head down.
"I held him for about two hours after the news was given," the grandmother told me. Eli was a healthy young child. He had never had any serious health issues and all of the sudden he was gone. The autopsy confirmed that a normal cold bacteria had targeted the boy's pacemaker and an area of Eli's lungs. One cannot even explain or comprehend the pain that this family was going through.
The grandmother went on to talk about how two months later she and her daughter, Eli's mother, came to Honduras on their first mission trip. During one of their toughest trials in life they found themselves living out God's command of going out into the nations to spread His word. During their time here they still struggled with hurt, but they knew God had a greater purpose with this trial. They had decided to trust God and His will. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
The mother and grandmother saw all the children in need and recalled how they had always instilled in Eli to love God and show him about Jesus and they wanted the same for these Honduran children. When they returned home they spoke to the church and agreed that they would fund the construction of this building for the Honduran church. A church building that will allow children to have a meeting place and learn about God's love & grace. The grandmother & mother wanted all these kids to have the opportunity to learn about Jesus and be raised with a place to gather. It amazes me how God can transform a tragedy into a blessing when we truly trust and follow His will.
A few of us from the team had the opportunity to help with the building construction some weeks earlier and little did we know the story behind the reason for this building and its purpose. Now that we grasp the story behind it we can truly appreciate and be blessed by the example of this family's faith. Many of us go through trials and blame Jesus and become angry yet this family, although hurt, decided to exalt God and use their trial for His glory.
This story also makes me picture Jesus' story and how real and meaningful John 3:16 is. A verse that most of us have memorized when we were young and is full of truth and genuine love. "For God so love the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." I cannot even imagine what God felt as He saw through heaven's doors into earth and watched His son be put to death so that all human kind would be cleansed from their sins and gain eternal life if they placed their faith in Him.
Knowing that we serve such a loving and generous God encourages us, the team, to keep on going... spreading the best news one could ever hear. We are here for a reason and know that God will continue to strengthen us. We also pray that God will continue to encourage those that we encounter even after we leave. Pray that God will continue the ripple effect. Also have Eli's family in prayer and that God may continue to encourage and strengthen them.
Honduras Healthcare Team