One of the most exhilirating experiences just happened a few days ago. Last Saturday, after an amazing evening on Friday, celebrating the Thanksgiving experience with close friends and loved ones, I embarked in a new phase of my personal journey. The first part of this experience was simply the departure from the apartment. I'm surrounded by people nearly 24 hours a day for seven days a week. I rarely, if ever, have any moment to quietly contemplate the complexities, simplicities, and generalities of life's journey. So, this Saturday morning, I relished the opportunity to travel up to Ventanila by myself. I was able to blare loud music and ride with my windows down, which accordingly to security policy is strictly prohibited.
Along the journey to Ventanilla, I felt the presence of Christ falling upon my car. It wasn't a light sense by any means, but a presence filled with an awe of realization that God is and was in my midst. I cherished these moments as I roared down the highway that runs from the airport into the marginalized community of Ventanilla. The fog was lifting along the ocean coastal region as my car dipped into the valley that spreads 700,000 people out into the endless sand. Ventanilla, the region pushed furthest out from Lima's support and govvernmental oversight.
It had been an early start, and with an early arrival, I parked at the local market store to wait for the team to come down from Las Lomas of ventanilla alta. Today was an incredibly inspirational day as the group of leaders that our NGO has raised up over the past 4 years were beginning their first day of reaching out to a more impoverished community, Valle Verde. I was so excited about the opportunity to see the impact of our hard work was finally coming into a fruit bearing season.
I quickly became impatient. I wasn't happy with the emotional feeling, but it was coming. I was waiting and waiting, and the youth group of 14 leaders still had not come down the hill yet. Mixing in with latino culture of punctuality borders along the edge of complete insanity if patience was something you wish you had. They were late, and so during their tardiness, I took advantage of a small mochachino from the local store. It certainly didn't further my joy anymore to not have the diverse selection of coffee flavours, but nonetheless, I downed a shot of the brew and returned to the car. As I opened the door of the car, the ministry van crept past in the street in front of the parking lot. They continued to move on their way to Valle Verde without me. I couldn't believe it. They were running late, but they managed to leave me behind in the wake like a downed water-skier.
I was so frustrated that I could the pulse rising from within my inner core. I didn't even know what to do, as they had gone past, without even alerting me to their movements. I knew that they had needed to purchase fruit for the children in Valle Verde and would need me to help get the fruit. I knew that they would be calling me to ask for my help, and I was so upset. The last thing that I wanted to do was to go along and join them in the experience. I knew that they were going to do an incredible job, and I knew that they were going to reach the children of Valle Verde, by my mountain top experience had just been bulldozed by a four-wheel emotion called impatience and it blew down my joyous morning.
I wish that bull-dozer had run out of gas before crashing in on my day. I pulled the car into reverse and headed down into the fruit market to purchase apples and oranges for the children that would be gathering in a common cement court to hear what our youth leaders had to share. While wallowing in my own self indulged pity, I grumbled over to the fruit stand and purchased the four crates of apples and four crates of oranges. My attitude started changing when I started walking back to the car and I could feel the Spirit of God resting back upon my impatient soul.
By the time I had driven down to the location of Valle Verde, I realized that God's divine plan always reveals His glory. What had been intended to ruin my day was only mirrored to minor distraction to the incredible outpouring of God's great hand upon the youth leaders. They were 14 in total, and I have known each of them since the beginning days of our outreach ministry in Las Lomas. These precious young adults have grown and matured and have accepted the calling of Christ on their lives.
Some of these leaders became Christ followers through our Club Deportivo Dan soccer program, while others came to know Christ through our youth program in Las Lomas, (Simplemente Jovenes), but the incredible and most rewarding moment is to see that all of these young adults are now bringing other young people to know Christ.
One of the most challenging indiviuals through the years, Oscar, sat down next to me while he was setting up the audio speaker system for the morning activities. He peered into my eyes and whispered, "this is the best feeling I've ever had," his eyes were watering, "I never thought that I would get to do something like this, bring happiness to other kids,"
I started to cry. It was as if all the years of pleading with people in other countries to assist with financial resources to raise future leaders had finally pushed forth fruit. I was seeing it before my very eyes. The years of countless emails, newsletters, and e-newsletter blasts, wondering if my emails were just being sent out into the dark cyber-space connections of no returns. Countless conversations at church conferences, bible study meetings, and missions conferences had finally paid a worthy fee to balance the check to zero. I was seeing the Great Commision being re-enacted in broad daylight. All fourteen of these priceless souls were pouring out, sacrificing their time, energy, and resources to see the joy rise upon the faces of little children they'd never worked with before.
I felt like I arrived at a simple destiny, that my footprint in the sand had reached its final destination. I felt that now, with these 14 youth leaders pouring out, serving, and pointing children to the Christ, that I could fade away into the past, only leaving my legacy to be lived out in the lives of those who will carry on the ministry for Christ to change the path of the future and to enlarge the Kingdom of God.
I've done my job. I now understand that the generational ministry that I founded in the year 2000 will now become the legacy that these 14 youth leaders will carry onward into the next generation, promising to me today that the Gospel of Christ will be carried on in this humble corner of Ventanilla, Peru, South America.
150 children and teenagers gathered around today and sang about Christ, learned from our 14 youth leaders, and walked away from today's ministry with the realization that there are people that love them and seek them to find the Christ.
This is just the beginning of an incredilbe movement of God, and I am so thankful that I got to see this movement change and impact the world for Him.
Thank you God for giving me this opportunity to see how the future has been changed by the lives of people that have sacrificed greatly. Thank you for your endless gift of praise.
May your Light of healing bring peace and joy to the afflicated and may I be used as an instrument of your peace, oh Christ, our Lord & Rock of our Salvation,