|Brothers and sisters: Isaac and Sandra, Dawens and Landa|
|Making a car out of an oil bottle and caps|
At one point, the sky started clouding over and the sun went behind a cloud. "Do you think it's going to rain later?" Darlene pointed to a cloud and said it would rain soon. I was skeptical. Clouds move in all the time and pass us right by without us getting a drop. However, I could tell she was a little worried. Lightning flashed in the cloud and she made sure I had seen it. "Do you think we should go, Darlene?" Yes, she said - she didn't want us walking home in the rain or have Isaac fall because we were hurrying back. So, we got ready, said our good-byes and started walking home. On our half-mile walk home, we felt a few rain drops, but nothing severe. However, the cloud that she had pointed to was now overhead. Not even thirty seconds after we stepped in the door of our house, the cloud opened up and it rained hard. Now, even if it hadn't rained, Darlene was looking out for us and showed this in that she was genuinely worried that it might rain on us. Granted, when I got home, I changed and went running in the rain, but that's beside the point!
In the past month, I've been able to bring some people with me to Darlene's to visit. They're not going there to do some project or try to make a difference somehow - they're going to spend time with people and build relationships. At the same time, they witness the relationship my family has built with hers. Without fail, this is one of the most impactful things people have mentioned of their experience here. In Western culture, we are very task-oriented and project-driven. People are attracted to the idea of traveling to a third-world country and doing something to help. When the project is over, they go home, feeling a sense of accomplishment. But more than projects, it's relationships that will make a difference. Jesus exemplified this in his earthly ministry. He touched people, healed people, had compassion on them, fed them. He poured himself into twelve men to carry on. His life was characterized by relationships. It's definitely harder. It's not as predictable. It's messy. But instead of going home with a sense of accomplishment, people can go home with a sense of fulfillment. The project will even be more meaningful because of it. But you don't have to wait to go to a third-world country to build relationships. You can do that wherever you are and impact people with the love of Christ.