Our group of 16 arrived in the darkness of night. Narrow, bumpy roads led us up and up to Pinas de Pas, Pineapples of Peace, where bleary-eyed from dust and travel, we found our ways to comfotable beds and a starry night. Waking to the morning sunshine and birds singing (and several noisy roosters) we were greeted by our hosts, Murray and Robbie, who welcomed us and nourished our bodies and souls with a hearty breakfast and a get-aquainted time. Jan Bilthouse gave an inspiring overview and encouraged us to always be looking for where we see God throughout our time. Our eyes are open and we are watching.
Gloria Gilling shared a beautiful morning devotional on top of the hill overlooking the pineapple and coffee plantatiion. Gloria, in full Super-woman get-up, shared how on her first mission trip, she had planned to save the world. She was on a mission to save the world, and save the world she would. But God had a different plan. On Gloria’s final day of her trip she was introduced to a woman who had a hurting heart. Gloria thought it was a medical need and knew there was not much she could offer. But the woman’s heart was huring because her husband had died and she was looking for comfort at her darkest time. It was then Gloria recognized the meaning of going on mission.
But we had work to do. We put on our work clothes and painted the inside walls of a small church. Yes, that’s right. 16 women on mission alongside 20 or so women, men, and children shared paint buckets, brushes, smiles and over the course of the day, completed the inside and touched up the wrought iron that filled the windows and doors. The outside front of the church was painted vivid turquoise.
Jane was one women who was an industrious painter. Through a translator, she told us that she was 23 and married. She wants deperately to learn to speak English. Little did we know there might be a plan for a teacher one day soon to come and teach these people who are trying to better themselves.
Our afternoon was spent finishing the painting and sorting the kits for activities for the rest of the week. We all agreed it was about the dirtiest we have been in a long time. A cold shower never felt so good and a heartly dinner of lasagna noursished our souls.
Was it too early to go to bed at 8:30?
Leslie Hurst gathered us for morning devotionals on the hilltop. She had a holding cross for each one of us and spoke to us about how prayer is one of the ways she can stay focused. And looking for God in the ordinary gave us all a challenging thought. Looking around throughout the day in our work assignments, we knew there would be many. Seeing God at every turn seems easier when we are away from our phones, our appointments, our busy-ness, our super-woman importance. Leslie closed her thoughts with saying a grateful heart opens the way to heaven.