This past June I embarked upon a short term (eleven day) missions trip to Trujillo, Peru; this was the result of that trip.
If I die, what will rise me? If my heart fails to beat, if it falls into a thousand pieces, what will string it back together? Alone, nothing can be accomplished; alone, we remain buried; alone, we remain torn and casted into lots.
When I was growing up I wondered what it would be like to stand foot in another country, since everyone talked as if they were some kind of entirely different world, I believed that the air or the entire feeling of the place even would be different, like stepping into another realm of existence. Certainly, after sixteen hours of traveling you feel as if you’re in another realm of existence, but I remember the first person I noticed as we drove up to the church we would be working at: it was a woman walking up through the sandy hills of Alto Trujillo back to her home, probably after stopping at the market or someplace down in the town below. The moment I saw her face, I recognized that she felt a weight of hopelessness, a hopelessness that everything she knows will never change nor ever improve, that she were trapped in a life without hope; and I knew then that despite the distance, despite the differences in customs, traffic, economy, and mere manners, every person, no matter the ground they live, is the same. They all desire the same things, need the same things, and struggle with the same things, even if in different worlds.
I was terribly nervous and unprepared to share my testimony, I had given up on the trip, and given up on much that made my heart beat. Life pulls you to the edge sometimes. Considering my testimony revolves entirely around C S Lewis and the english speaking world, I couldn’t, regardless my work, write it together; yet, despite the difference in culture, the love that my testimony of Christ is written with, and the world of love that I know now because of it, is as much a part of Peru, as it is any other culture, for it still answers to the hearts we all share. Our initial plan was to break into three groups: a medical group, a children’s group, and a dirty hands group. When we got there we found that what was needed most was mere love, was for us to take care of the people and love them. So, instead, we only broke into two groups: children and medical. Instead of building, we played soccer with the kids, talked to the people, and taught them how to wash their hands, which the kids adored, and merely spent time with them. Instead of addressing what made us different, instead of trying to build a culture, we addressed what made us the same, which was love.
So, really the only time I felt as if I were even in another country, was when we took a day to sight see and we travelled out to a small plantation in the middle of nowhere, past miles of landfills, where the world seemed to fall to a dead silence in a lack of others. Personally, I loved this place, given the silent beauty of it, given the beauty of God’s hands you could see so easily; but, still, the sight of all the kids chasing after our bus and swarming us all with bear hugs every time we arrived and left, was far better than the amazing beauty of that place. The beauty of creation that you could clearly, without doubt, see there, was wonderful, but the beauty of the love that the people were filled with, a love that filled you in turn with love as well, was something special I’ll never forget, and that I very much look forward to returning to again.
In spite of the differences, in spite of our separation, we all break and tear, and we all are stitched together again by our accompany of love. Alone, we remain. With such company of care, we leave for the only place that can cure us. Love that binds us all together, love that surrounds our solitude, is the string that rises us and pulls us together again. Love is our company to care for our burdens, and the heart of His love, that has broken as ours, is the place we travel together to arrive whole.
We leave this grave, accompanied, with Him at our side.
- The Morning of the Resurrection, 1886, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones