• March 29, 2017

Ecuador: I am someone worth visiting

by Mara W, on mis­sion in Ecuador

Around the corner from us lives an elderly woman, Señora M, whom we affec­tion­ately call “la abuela” (the grandma). She lives with sev­eral family mem­bers in a one room house made of sug­ar­cane, and is one of the poorest of our friends. Heart’s Home has had a spe­cial rela­tion­ship with her for years; when her grand­kids were small they came to play in the house with the mis­sion­aries, and now we check in on her often. Even though she lives with family, she is not well cared for and is in very poor health.

Whenever we enter her house, her face lights up with a big smile and she motions for us to sit down next to her. She’ll grasp my hand and straighten my shirt, happy to have the oppor­tu­nity to show her love and appre­ci­a­tion. It’s hum­bling to realize how much our simple pres­ence means to her; it’s evi­dent that for la abuela, our visits remind her that she is someone; someone worth vis­iting.

Recently, I went with Leti to visit her after she returned from a long stay in the hos­pital, and we both were struck by the state she was in. Her hair had not been brushed in weeks and was dirty and matted, her mat­tress was soiled and wet, and she had nothing to eat.

Together we worked for 40 min­utes to brush out and braid her hair. It was such a small thing – but it gave her back a little bit of her dig­nity. We moved her mat­tress out­side to dry, and fixed her some­thing to eat. We couldn’t com­pletely change her sit­u­a­tion, but we could bring some hope into it; we could remind her that she is worth more than her sit­u­a­tion. We could only offer her what we have received through the mercy of God – his uncon­di­tional love. “We love because he first loved us.”

It is sit­u­a­tions like these when I am espe­cially grateful for the life of prayer that we have here in Heart’s Home. I know that even if I cannot change the sit­u­a­tion of each suf­fering person and child here in our neigh­bor­hood, I can entrust them and their suf­fer­ings to the Lord in prayer. Our home is like a little oasis of peace, of prayer, of love, of hope, of friend­ship, smack dab in the middle of this neigh­bor­hood that at times seems to be a desert of suf­fering. What a gift it is to know that God hears our prayers.

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