Lessons from Maria and mountain man

Sometimes is the smallest things that moves me the most. I just came back yesterday from Mexico where I was serving with 22 missionaries as we went about evangelizing. When I first started, I worked there in the garbage dumps of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Families would come from all over Mexico trying to get a across the border. Unable to they would go to the garbage dumb and rummage through looking for cardboard boxes or anything to make a shelter. Soon the “garbage dump people” as they were known became a city of their own.

I saw a need that we should invest our lives into these people. I started taking youth groups to do vacation Bible school in the garbage dump. One of the families lived in two cardboard boxes, mom and dad and fourteen children.

One of the younger girls was named Maria. Maria was one of those girls who was carried a smile that would light up a room. The only clothes that Maria wore was a pair of panties, but I noticed that she had some earrings. So each day, I would make a big deal over how beautiful she looked with her earrings. So each day she would come to me with her head tilted so I could get a better look at her earrings.

On the last day, Maria gave her life to Jesus and her smile grew even bigger. The week ended and we needed to head back across the border. We always load up at four in the morning to beat the business traffic that would back up for hours. As I was loading in the dark, I noticed two people walking toward us, one was quite tall the other was small. As they got closer I noticed it was Maria and her mother. Maria walked up to me with that big smile and her hands behind her back. Suddenly she pulled them in out in front of her and there she was holding a little white box. My eyes darted up and I noticed that her earring was missing and then I knew what was in the box. I gently took the box and opened it and inside laid two tiny little earrings. Maria had gave me her all. It took everything I had to keep from weeping and I wanted to give them back to her but I knew she would be hurt. So I got on my knees and thanked Maria for her generous gift. The widow mite continues on.

I was meeting with one of the Hispanic pastors that is on our staff. We had been working in the state of Veracruz among the Totonacs in the mountain regions. It has been difficult work, we have to go from English, to Spanish to the local dialects. But the work has been established and the church is growing but many of them are just so far away and live in small huts in the hill.

A radio station was established so that the gospel could be projected in to the far reaches of the mountain and that the gospel could be presented in their language. Not knowing for sure if anyone was listening. One day the station manger looked up and saw a man from the mountains standing at the doorway with his hands cupped to the glass squinting to see what inside of the building. The manger got up and invited the mountain man into the building. The little man asked, is the place that plays music and tell us words in Totonac? The manger said, ” Yes, we do.” He replied, “I live eight hours by foot from here, this morning I heard the words you were saying about Jesus and I invited him into my heart. I wanted to come and tell you that I believe what you said. I am grateful that you let me know about this Jesus and what He has done from me. Being grateful I wanted to come and give you gift.”

The mountain man held out his hand with a quarter in it. The station manager tried to refuse but the mountain man said, I walked eight hours through the mountain to bring you this gift. The manager reached out and took and the man abruptly turned around to make the eight hour journey back to his home.

Again, I am moved by the widow’s mite. I wonder who God is more pleased with, the one who gives something that doesn’t cost him anything or the one who gives it all? May the spirit of Maria and the mountain man live in all of us.