My fifth day in Guatemala. My heart has been broken by what I’d imagined existed but never fathomed my eyes would see.
Before embarking on this trip, I had jokingly claimed God was sending me to the promised land since I’d just turned forty. Yet after only a short time in Guatemala, with complete sincerity, I pleaded with God to give me a glimpse of milk and honey in a place where giants loom.
Giants of poverty. Abandoned children. Hopelessness. Hardship. Lack.
They reported to Moses, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey, and here is some of its fruit.” (Numbers 13:27)
Show me some of its fruit. A taste of milk and honey on the tip of my tongue.
Our guide, Joel, came in to deliver morning devotions. I looked into his innocent, yet deeply faithful, eyes. A young gentleman whose love for the children is undeniable. A shepherd with a flock.
Milk and honey.
I stepped outside to find the orphans lined up ready for us to join them for church. Little Maria ran to me with arms open wide. “Mama Maria!” (The children at the orphanage call me Maria. Long story.) I drew her into my arms. She cupped my face in her soft, small hands. Moving her innocent, yet orphaned, face toward my ear she reminded me with a gentle whisper, “Dos Marias.”
Two Marias. She and I.
Milk and honey.
That afternoon, I trekked down the side of a Guatemalan mountain to an impoverished village. Maria Teresa Community consisting of 150 homes with three to four families per dwelling. There are over 1,000 residents of Maria Teresa. The homes consist of plastic, cardboard and tin shelters with dirt floors. One room abodes. Families sharing space. Neighbors sharing a mountainside.
In the midst of poverty, I discovered beauty.
People soaked in peace. Courage drawn deep from within shining in their eyes. Grace and hope a constant sanctuary.
One woman meets us at the gate with many others. We travel a long, arduous distance to her dwelling. Maria Sylvia, a single mother, travels two hours to work each day and two hours back to Maria Teresa. She cleans a home to earn money to feed her family.
Maria Sylvia asked us to pray for her. Not for riches. Not for advancement in her social system. She wasn’t seeking comfort.
Maria wants to begin serving women and children at a greater capacity. She tends to the needs of others. Maria feels a calling to begin a ministry.
In her lack, she beckons God…
Show me how to give.
A woman possessing very little on the earth.
With the Kingdom in her heart.
Milk and Honey