Two summers ago, I went on a mission trip to Medellin, Columbia with International Cooperating Ministries (ICM). Medellin is a beautiful city surrounded by steep rugged mountains. With the city of Medellin as our base, we visited the mountain villages above the city. The views from the high mountains of Medellin’s lights was breath taking. What was even more breath taking was how these indigent people were able to affix their small scrap metal homes to the unwelcoming mountain. I do not know what kept those homes from crashing down the treacherous mountain-side.
Our group of 25 visited church dedications, orphanages and possible sites where a new church could be built. The Columbian people were extremely welcoming. Churches housed children during the day. Hoping they could keep children off the streets and give them food while parents worked. The songs and dancing of the young children hid their life of extreme poverty, abandonment and abuse. At one such place, a little 4-year-old boy was painstakingly coloring in a coloring book. With my very limited Spanish I said, “muy Bueno.” Those 2 words brought a huge smile to his face. Tears formed in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I realized this little child needed someone to love him. At this day care, he would learn that Jesus does just that. He is loved by God’s only Son who had come to earth and been a 4-year-old Himself.
We heard testimonies from older children of how coming to know Jesus as Savior changed their lives. They now had hope. They knew they would never be forsaken by God; even though people may have abandoned them.
In the evening we went to church services in the city. After a church service in Medellin, the Pastor asked everyone to hug 6 people they did not know. Because I knew everyone on the bus that meant I had to walk out of my comfort zone and look for someone to hug.
The first hug wasn’t that difficult. The smile on the stranger’s face and my own made me ready to hug the next person and then the next.
In that darkened church a very small, slight women came up to me and hugged me. She opened my hand, placed a small bracelet in it and closed my fingers around the bracelet. Then she left very quickly.
Back at the hotel, I examined the brightly colored expandable bracelet. It had the colors, red, yellow and blue of the Columbian flag. Blue was for the bravery of the people, yellow was for their courage, and red was for their blood that was shed. I turned the bracelet in my hand and sensed she wanted prayers for her family, as well as, for herself.
As I placed the bracelet on my wrist, I prayed for the woman whose name I didn’t know whose language I didn’t speak. The prayers and wearing of the bracelet became daily.
What do you pray for someone whose name you don’t even know?
Everything that comes upon your heart. You pray for spiritual comfort, peace, healing, the salvation of her family, for physical needs, for a beautiful day. The list goes on and on. I prayed for her daily.
One day I was very sad and knew that I needed to pray and ask God to let me feel His Presence. When I began praying, a peace beyond understanding washed over me. I looked at the Columbian bracelet and thought I must pray for her. Then came the realization that at precise moment that sweet Columbian woman was praying for me. In my heart I said, God I thought I was to be a blessing to her. But You meant her gift of the bracelet was to be a blessing to me.
Because of Jesus.