Wednesday, December 30, 2015

open eyes, open hands

Today marks three weeks of being in Puerto Rico, of traveling the island in our four-van caravan, of visiting churches, schools, rehabilitation centers, public parks and squares, and even the beach and the rain forest!

One of the things that God has been teaching me while I have been here is to open my eyes to see the beautiful things that He is putting in each of my days. We are on outreach, which means that we are prepared to give up the comforts of our lives in London. However, the people of Puerto Rico have such generous hearts that they keep taking care of us in unexpected ways, whether it is through donations of clothing and flip flops or through feeding all thirty of us the traditional Puerto Rican meal of chicken or pork, rice, and beans. 

Puerto Ricans also love to get to know new people. Even as I was just in the queue at Starbucks, a man read the name on my cup and starting asking what I was doing and telling me about his life as a chef on the other side of the island. Evangelism is much different than it is in London, because people love to stop and chat for a while, and we leave with new friends. When we spent a week at a church in Caguas, a city near San Juan, the people of the church all came around to check on us and make sure that we had everything that we needed. The women all wanted the chance to cook for us, and they were upset when they didn't have a turn!

This is a culture of extremes, and while a lot of the people here go to church on Sundays, they often do not carry that into their weekday lives. It is heavy on our hearts to inspire the people of Puerto Rico to commit to Christ, to fall in love with Him and to pursue Him with their lives, rather than to go to church on Sunday and live the rest of their weeks in their own ways. Puerto Ricans have passion and perseverance that we desperately need in this battle that we fight to bring God's Kingdom to Earth. I believe that, as God stirs more of their hearts, and as we pray for them to commit their lives to Him and what He calls them to, we will see more Puerto Ricans being sent to bring nations back to the feet of the King.

There is only one more day left in 2015, and I am so glad that I will get to spend it here, looking back on the miracles that God has done, on the places that He has led our team to visit, on the ways that He has provided unexpectedly, and on the challenges that He has led us through. And I look forward to spending 2016 doing the same: meeting new people, traveling to different places, and following God.

 The musicians and drummers singing worship songs on the streets of Bayamon.

 Luis, a man that I spoke to for a long time in Bayamon. He sees evidence of God in creation and captures it in words.

A little girl in a school in Caguas who didn't want to dance, but was keen to learn photography instead.

 Christian speaking at a church in Carolina.

 The dancers and musicians at a Christmas festival in Cayey.

 The ferry from Culebra, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Old San Juan

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