"Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles." Psalms 119:50
A couple of days ago I found this Hebrew word: "Nechamah", which means comfort and it got me thinking about our God- our God that gives comfort. I thought of Him yesterday, I thought of Him today and I will think of Him tomorrow and in all these times I see His consistency. Even though I change and my emotions change, I have the certainty that He does not change, nor will He change. In the past, God has taken control of my life and the life of my daughter and today He is very present and I have no doubts that in the future, He will still be there.
In recent times in Argentina, we have passed through many moments and stages of quarantine. Now we can meet as a church in groups of 10 people in the parks and it has been so good to be able to pray and sing again with our brothers and sisters. It has been good to see their faces and smiles even through the masks and to feel God through their eyes, through their words and the comfort that they give our spirit.
But what happens in places where there is no community? A couple months ago, some friends and I got together to do a "merendero" - a place where in the afternoon they serve teas, hot chocolate and bread or cookies to the kids of the neighborhood. We all started with the purpose of handing out a warm snack in the middle of a cold winter. We were able to do it two times with the money we could put together ourselves and through donations that we got from asking friends. After that, a friend was talking to an old work colleague and found out that she and her sister had put something small together for the kids of the neighborhood where they live. In general, they have between 100-200 kids come by two or three times a week. After finding this out, and naming ourselves "Together we Gather", we were able to gather clothes and food to be able to give the kids a special afternoon.
The women of the merendero were very excited because we came to visit and for the things we were able to gather for the kids. A couple of days before we came, they had told the kids there would be something special for them. When the day came, many kids of the neighborhood were excited. As it is a lower income neighborhood having a special activity planned by people who live in the center of the capital, people they didn't know, was very special. When we arrived an hour early, there was already an immense line. To be honest, I prayed "Lord, let there be enough for all and if there is not, please multiply what we do have." And He did. There were 10 left over snack bags.
In the middle of the pandemic, we had to maintain strict distance, but we had such a desire to hug those kids. We not only were able to give each child a snack bag but we gave each one a new face mask and an encouragement note with verses from Scripture. It was nice to see that some from our group who are not Christians were so moved when they saw the notes that we had made.
After the event, we stayed and talked with the women in charge of the snacks every week. These two women didn't know that many of the group were Christians and we hadn't known that these two women were believers. They shared their story with us. They don't get help from the government but someone always hears about them and will send donations- like a group of truck drivers, women who run little kiosks, people they know, etc. Many times they have been under threat of being kicked out of the place they use because of legalities, but they say they never fear and always trust things will turn out well because their father taught them that they should not fear man but only God. They spoke to us about fearing God and to those of our group who were not Christians they said, "you will get to know Him" and for the whole group they said good-bye with these words: "God brought you here. It does not matter if you believe in Him or not, He uses you. We don't know if you will return or not, but we know this was of God."
What certainty their words held! They attributed it all to God because it's true- all of it absolutely came from Him. This was a great afternoon- a afternoon of coffee and tea, stories and tears of emotions. And here, I return to my original question: What happens in places where there is no community close by? God is your community! I think of these women who don't have a church nearby, who don't have a community or a church like ours, but they believe and trust in their God. In a God who never has left them helpless, in a God who provides, not just for them but for the children they know. This really and truly moves my faith when I am confronted with people who have so little but do so much.
Today, I want to pray for them, for our own community, for my team and family. I want to recognize that God is God and He has control. I want to also invite all of you to sign up for the time of prayer that we will have in November. We want to fill up a 36 hour period to pray for all of us, our families and the Church of Jesus. We want this time to be "present", knowing that God is present when we pray and recognizing that we also want to be present with Him- with hearts open and with humility and sincerity of words.
For those of you reading this, I don't know what you are going through today, but my prayer for you is that you will also find comfort and rest, recognizing that God has control and He will comfort in all difficulties.