Nicaragua is a beautiful country. From the majestic view in the mountains to the picturesque view of the oceans, His glorious creation shines forth.
A land of lakes and volcanoes. A land of rivers and canyons. A land of God’s splendor.
A land of crisis and poverty.
A few days ago we stood on the shore of the pacific coast in the small village of La Salvia in Potosi. As we gazed at the gorgeous view in front of us, we were overwhelmed at the sight of the mountains of El Salvador and Honduras across the sparkling span of water.
It was breathtaking and all we could do was just stand there in awe of it all.
And then you turn around.
And the stark poverty of these precious people hits you square in the face.
These wood-post and plastic houses form a long line along the coast.
The people of this village make their living on the water. Lobster, shrimp, and fish are in abundance. It’s hard work. The sun is intense. The heat is oppressive at times. But day after day, they set out in their little boats and let down their nets.
It is always a tremendous blessing to be able to come and minister to the people of this amazing country. As much as we attempt to pour out of ourselves to them, they always fill us back up.
As much as we seek the LORD in what message to impart to them, the message they speak back out of their hearts is far greater.
When I gaze at their beautiful smiles amidst all their hardships, I don’t see the faces poverty.
When I see them joyfully preparing a meal for us in their simple plastic houses, I don’t see the faces of an impoverished people.
When I see their lives made difficult by the lack of running water or electricity, the reflection I see in their eyes is not one of despair.
What I do see…. is Jesus.
I see Him in their abounding joy. I see Him in their desire to serve others. I see Him in their welcoming spirits.
Oh, yes, Christ is evident among those we serve.
The little boy at the gas station begging for just a few Cordobas (32 per $1).
The man on the corner selling sunglasses for the equivalent of 4 American dollars.
The young teenager at the stoplight in Managua who squirts water on your windshield and then proceeds to clean it off in hopes of your tossing some cords his way.
The man sleeping off a hard night on the sidewalk of the city.
The little children wearing the same dirty clothes from the day before.
The shy boy who won’t come into the church but stands at the window and watches it all.
Each of these encounters only serves to be a catalyst for our mission. I don’t see them as an intrusion or an inconvenience. I try not to weary of the constant request for money. I try not to cast judgement upon any of these despairing situations.
I try so hard not to feel annoyance. I make an effort to look deeper inside and then I don’t see the filth.
What I do see… is Jesus.
My desire is to never grow weary of this privilege to serve. To never grow disgruntled with the people who simply have a need. To never look at just the outside and fail to turn my eyes to their souls.
I want to see Jesus at every turn. Every corner. Every person I encounter.
“For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God……we will share in all that belongs to Christ.” (Hebrews 3:14)
Oh, to be found faithful….. that is my greatest desire.
As much as I want what I see to be Jesus, even more than that, I want others to see Jesus in me.
And to be found faithful in Him.