When God Calls, You Just Show Up!
The question we were asked was, " Will you and your daughter ride in the back of a pick up truck with 12 other people while we driving through the dark streets of San Salvador?" Our answer? Of course, we will!!
The energy was buzzing as we gathered in the garage in a well organized assembly line making bologna and cheese sandwiches with secret sauce, adding an apple, juice, potato chips, cookies and enjoying praise music. Then we all piled in a pick- up truck and prayed over the food and the night... "Open our hearts Lord as we are privileged to be your hands and feet" I must say I was also praying for a lot of safety as my daughter was the last one in the truck and sitting closest to the tailgate. Then prayer was answered immediately. Two strong missionaries (Stephen and Dillon) anchored us on both ends with one leg in and one out while only hanging on with one hand. Were they seriously going to cruise the streets this way?
At our first destination I could see why they clung on as they did. Stephen held a flashlight in one hand while we slowly searched for people on the streets. When anyone spotted a homeless person, Stephen would bang on the truck and Kurt (the founder of Sus Hijos) would slam on the breaks. Stephen would jump out with one of the meals in his hand and run to the person on the street while saying " Dios the bendiga" (God bless you). Then he jumped back on the tailgate and we sped off searching for others. Our next stop seemed like an entire village. I was taken aback. People were lined up lying in the streets with nothing, most of them didn't even have a shirt to soften the chill between their skin and the concrete. This time Kurt gave a special honk of the horn and most of them would stand up, walk, run and stumble to the truck while we handed them their bag of food from all sides. Some held water bottles in their hands filled with glue that they sniff, (we are told this numbs the hunger pains), some shook our hands, some said "God bless you." I was touched by how everyone was so grateful and they thanked us numerous times.
The train tracks was the one stop where team members could get out of the truck and come face to face with the homeless community. There was a guard with a shotgun guarding the building close by. I hoped that he knew this herd of people jumping out of the pickup were there to feed the homeless. The next stop was the most heartbreaking of all. We saw a young mother with her toddler sitting in the middle of a small grass area. Stephen got off the truck with two bags of food in his hand, spent some time with her, got back on the truck and there was silence and tears. How could we just drive away and do nothing? The sense of powerlessness was overwhelming.
The situations we encountered felt hopeless. Numerous times Stephen was asked by a homeless person if a friend or relative got a meal. One person a couple streets away pointed off into the distant night, longing for food. They are dealing with so much yet and they still have the compassion and love to help somebody else. That was something that God showed us all, his desire for us to serve others in the midst of our own desperation. We served 225 meals to precious people, each of whom had a story of brokenness. Although I may never know the details, I know that each person is loved by God. He knows their story and it was a blessing to follow his call to serve them.