As our van pulled up I noticed there seemed to be a celebration going on. Outside the windows I could see a line of people and suddenly I realized that the celebration was actually the people of the church waiting to greet us! The greeters were all dressed in their Sunday best and they were holding balloons, and had excited smiles of welcome on their faces!
As I got off the bus it felt really strange to me to know this welcome was also for me. I felt so unworthy of all of this hoopla. For some reason to me it just didn’t seem right to have a welcoming so grand that seemed more fit for a celebrity instead of just a bunch of normal ladies from the United States who lived normal everyday lives..
Today we visited ‘Casa de Pan’ which is brand new Compassion project in ‘Eternal Rock of the Century’ church in Caserio Singuil, El Salvador. The people greeting us were Pastor Carlos and his wife Candy, the staff of the project, the congregation, the parents and the children who attend the project. Our group has been busy since May searching for sponsors for the children of this project and now today the moment had finally arrived when we would get to meet the children in person who we have only seen in pictures!
As we stepped out of the van and began making our way to the church, the line of people seemed to be never ending. Mothers and fathers, and their children all saying good morning to each of us as we passed by. Many shook my hand and many hugged or even kissed me. I was a complete stranger yet they were so welcoming and seemed to be genuinely happy to see me. The thought struck me…. “This is what it is to be part of God’s family and these are my brothers and sisters who I am meeting for the first time.” I wish I had the words to explain the feeling I felt, it was such a good feeling and at one point I remember wondering if this is what it will be like when I enter heaven one day? Will my brothers and sisters I haven’t met yet be waiting for me to welcome me into God’s Kingdom in this same way?
She then sat down beside me as the service began and she kept smiling sweetly at me.
Isn’t she beautiful?
As I started singing along the words of the song took me back to my journal entry that I had written on the plane yesterday, “Father, Please open my eyes and heart to what you want me to see…’ I found it no coincidence that today the children were singing those very same words. Suddenly I realized I already could see Him in a big big way.
We were told that Pastor Carlos and his wife used to be police officers but they had left their police jobs when God told Carlos to become a pastor. They gave up their old lives and came to this place to start a church. We were also told that at the first service in their new church that they only had 5 people who attended and that those 5 people included their own family! Today the church was packed full with people! I could see God again!
Pastor Carlos had a wonderful message today which came from Proverbs 19:17
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
In his message Pastor Carlos talked about how those who are kind to the poor are actually lending to God. I never really thought of that verse in the way He brought it to my attention today. I never really thought of being kind or helping others as if it were ‘Lending’ to God. I guess I always looked at it as if everything that I have already belongs to God and I think I thought more of it as if I were giving those things away more than from a lending type of perspective.
Lending to the Lord was a concept I had never ever thought about.
The service continued and somewhere along the way I got lost in the worship. Though now the songs were being sung in Spanish for some odd reason I felt as if I knew the words, I know this may sound strange but I felt as if the words were on my tongue, and that I knew them. I was moved in a way I have never been moved in church before. Oh how I wish every church service felt that way! I didn’t realize until later in the day what had really happened and how much I had seen God today and in a way I have never seen him before.
As I sat there in that church feeling his blessings filling me to the top the Lending to the Lord concept hit me like a ton of bricks! It was like WOW I think I may have been lending to the Lord all along and now here is my payback, and it is WAY more than I ever gave in the first place. Suddenly it dawned on me how we have to power to help God’s gifts multiply. Not everything we have to give are physical things. Things like. Love, kindness, friendship and our time are all things that can be shared (lent). Today the children had given us the gift of their songs. Their parents had shared their children with us. Pastor Carlos gave his gift of what the lord shared with him in his words. Candy gave in her prayers and the work she had done with the children. We all had different gifts to ‘lend’ and today what we all had lent to the Lord was already being returned back to us as way more than we had lent in the first place.
As I write this It takes me back to 5 years ago…2010….That was the year I ‘loaned’ $38 a month to the Lord. The truth is I never really thought of it as a loan. I just felt the nudge to sponsor a little girl and I never really expected that I would get anything back from that sponsorship… but I did and it was immediate. And as I sat today in a little church in El Salvador I realized that I hadn’t really given anything away at all, it was all a loan and God has been paying me back big time over and over again. The words ‘whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done’ make perfect sense to me now..
My heart is so full and I feel blessed and rewarded way beyond anything I ever could have imagined!
To be continued….
P. S. If you would like to lend to the Lord, I brought back a couple of children with me who are in need of sponsors. Meet Heissell Nicolle Cristales Perez and Luis Antonio Ventura Rodriguez. They are both praying for a sponsor, if you feel God nudging you to help make a difference in one or both of their lives leave me a comment and I will email you more information.