As I was driving home from Manhattan today to see a friend, my mind wandered back to summer like it always does, and I want to tell you a story that is probably one of my favorite parts of the summer.
Towards the end of July, I was building in Acuña with a team from Illinois. They brought a team big enough to build two doubles, so Shane and I took one house and Brittany and Lisa took the other.
We built right after Hurricane Alex hit the Gulf of Mexico, and hundreds of homes in Acuña had been destroyed, including the home of Weldon and Maria and their young daughters.
At the end of the third day when we were finished with our house, we knew that the other team was still working, so Shane and I dropped our half of the team off at the church and went to Brittany and Lisa's site to see what we could do to help.
I hadn't heard much about the family yet, only that everything they had owned had been destroyed by the flood and that they were living in a van.
When we pulled up, we met Weldon, an American citizen from Texas, and his wife Maria. While the team finished up with drywall, I talked with Maria about her family, how she home-schooled her daughters, and how she wasn't sure how she was going to anymore because all their books were taken in the flood.
As the evening went on, I wandered into the house to help with electrical, but we soon realized that none of the electrical worked. We spent a couple hours rewiring switches and outlets, switching the breaker on and off, and checking to make sure no wires had been cut. After a while, someone noticed there was an outlet missing, and sure enough, we took of a piece of drywall and found the unwired outlet behind it. We all celebrated because it was getting late and we were tired and hot. After wiring the outlet, the electricity came on, there was a pop, some sparks, and everything went out again.
Probably sensing our frustration and exhaustion, Weldon offered us some food and a break. The team had left for the church a long time ago, so we agreed and sat down. His wife made us some delicious food. I was so tired I honestly can't remember what it was, but it was good, as it always is when families make it.
Weldon spoke English as his first language, so we carried on an easy conversation. He told us about how he had fallen in love with Maria and decided to move to Mexico as a missionary. This is a man who gave up EVERYTHING he had, yet he was so content in God and with his family that nothing else mattered.
He came from one of the richest countries in the world to live among the impoverished and show them Christ.
A verse that I for some reason easily remember is 1 Corinthians 1:18: "The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing."
To be blunt, Weldon's choice probably makes him seem like a fool to most people. I mean, who in their right mind leaves the comforts of home to live in poverty? I am not sure if Weldon intended to end up living in a tiny house or in a van, but one thing I was reminded of. Someone else did this too. Someone else left their comfortable home to come here to be uncomfortable, even hated.
This book I'm reading, Radical, it's making me think. How many people ACTUALLY know Christ? Because I think that we pick and choose what we want to hear from the Bible. As Shane Claiborne says, "That's why God invented hilighters." So that we can hilight what we want to read and ignore the rest, right?
I have to be honest with you. I'm not ready to leave the comforts of my bed, my room, my apartment, my hometown, and things that I know. But that might be what it comes to.
Back to Weldon and his family. I will never forget what it was like to sit under the stars in Mexico, eating delicious food, with good friends, and listening to Weldon tell his story of how he ended up in this small border city in Mexico. I couldn't help but wonder if that's what Christ meant when he said that if we followed him we would have life and have it to the full.
After talking, we checked out the electricity, which still didn't work, and then we called it a night. Seventeen hour day that sounds terrible, but I wouldn't trade it for anything because I got to meet an amazing person who has more treasure than many people will ever see. Not an earthly treasure, but a heavenly one like Christ talks about. I guess you could say he probably found that pearl in the field, sold everything he had, and bought that field...if that even makes sense.
Oh, and if you're wondering about the electricity, we came back the next day and it worked. Just a coincidence? I think not.