A timid, heavy set woman came with her 8 year old daughter Angela. She had come before but I didn’t recognize her when we said hello. At the end of the service she explained to Lupita that she didn’t have enough money to pay her electric bill. She brought with her a large, new, purple purse with a rose on it to sell to someone so she could pay her bill.
It is not uncommon, in fact, just about every week people come to church and ask for money for something. Sometimes I don’t feel much compassion but just get overwhelmed. Lupita suggested to several of us that if we just did a raffle, right now, we could raise the money for her. I cringed. People also come and sell their wares at church and then it is a battle to stop it from turning into a market. I said, “Maybe you could come on Wednesday, because here at church we ask people not to sell things…but this is different isn’t it? It’s not your product that you’re trying to sell.” “Right,” said Lupita. “She needs money for her electricity.” Lupita turned away to solicit others. A bit later Angela showed me a scrap of paper with a list of 10 numbers. Next to some were names of people who bought a $20 peso raffle ticket. I bought some, numbers 8 and 9, a total of $3.03 cents U.S. After a while, Margarita announced it was time for the raffle, holding up a plastic cup with torn pieces of paper inside and the numbers on them. All that I could think was that I didn’t need a purple purse, so I continued my conversation. Next thing I know, the woman is weeping uncontrollably with her worried daughter looking up at her and Lupita standing with her uncomfortably. I walked over and noticed the purple purse was still in her hand and in the other hand she was clutching the money for the electric bill. No one really wanted the purse. So she would get to keep the purse and the money. I squeezed her with a one arm hug. “God is good, isn’t he?” She continued to cry and I could almost feel the anguish leaving her. I looked at Lupita and tried to tell her with my expression, “I thank God for you, Lupita. You did this.” Lupita walked away as if to say, as she has on many other occasions, “It’s nothing. It’s the Lord.”
Come to think of it, Genaro told us today about how God provided for him. When Pastor Rafael asked if anyone had anything to share this morning, Genaro walked up to the front of church. It seems that Friday he had to pay credit card bills and his house payment and he had no idea how he was going to pay them. He had no paying clients. So his wife pawned her jewelry. Then on Friday a client came and wanted to give him a down payment of $20,000 pesos but only had $10,000 pesos (~US$760). That was exactly what Genaro and his wife needed to pay their bills. Genaro wondered why he ever doubted God. We praise God for what he is doing at El Faro. Please ask God with us for love and unity among the leaders at church.
Many blessings to you and yours!
Susie and Martin Gonzalez
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