The other day someone asked me what my “peak” experience has been so far, in the almost eight years we’ve lived here. That’s a tough question. I live in a foreign country, working for an organization that LITERALLY changes peoples lives (that phrase gets thrown around a lot, it seems) seeing God work in ways that I could never in a million years even begin to imagine…and I’m supposed to choose one experience? And then…three days later…I had that PEAK experience.
I told you all a while back that one of our house projects this year was for Jose and Teresa Jimenez. Jose and Teresa are Ecuadorian. Four years ago, they stepped out on faith and became missionaries. Faith based missionaries. That means that, just like the rest of us, they are trusting the Lord to provide. Jose is the pastor out at Zambiza (the dump) and Teresa runs the daycare out there. They are the most dedicated, humble, giving people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. For the last two years, they had been living with Teresa’s mom in a tiny little house. All five of them (Jose, Teresa and their three children) slept in one room. Not ONCE did I ever hear them complain about their situation. Not once. Last summer, when our house team was here, they said that they were going to build Jose and Teresa a house. The first thing Jose said was “No, you can’t. That means that someone else won’t get a house”. The team insisted…Jose resisted. Dan, Mike, Jerry and anyone else who talked to Jose tried to encourage him to let the team bless his family…and he finally said yes.
Several weeks ago, 20 or so people hit the ground in Ecuador. They brought 40 duffel bags filled with all of the things that you need for a house. They spent DAYS building the house. And then we all went out on a Tuesday, and started unpacking duffel bags. We hung shower curtains. Window curtains. Unpacked dishes and set the table. Which was purchased by the team while they were here, along with beds, dressers, living room furniture, groceries…I have never seen anything like it. The attention to detail was amazing. Jose and Teresa have three children. Fernando just graduated from high school. He got his own room, a whole new wardrobe, a desk and dresser…all for a wonderful young man. Timoteo is 9. Matchbox cars, clothes, school supplies, new desk. The other day Jose told Dan that Timmy spends his entire day in his room…just hanging out. He gets up, comes out for breakfast, goes back, comes out for lunch…we all just giggled at the picture. Jamileht is the only girl in the family. She’s a petite little three year old who absolutely melts your heart when you meet her. She got a room fit for a princess. Canopy for the bed, dollhouse, babies, tutus, ballet shoes…all in PINK. I don’t think she’s stopped smiling yet.
Being a part of this, even as small as my part was, was the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed here. And I’ve seen some pretty amazing stuff. It was three weeks ago, and as I write this, I’ve still got goose bumps. To be able to be a blessing to a family that has blessed us beyond measure with their dedication and their hearts for the Lord…As we all stood in the living room that night and listened to their testimony, listened to them dedicate their lives and their new house to the One that they love with their very being…That was a peak experience. I’m just glad peak experiences aren’t limited to one.
Below are some pictures…Enjoy.