Saturday, July 12, 2014

El Hermano

Early Wednesday morning the team arrives at the Dominican church.  At the altar is a man on his knees with his head resting in his folded arms.  Our host approaches him and gently speaks something to him.  I assume he is a man without a home and seeking shelter in the church.  He remains at the altar and we get busy with our day. 

I take notice of him, but when becoming acquainted with another culture I tend to observe and not ask too many questions.  I don’t learn about him I just make assumptions.

Later in the morning, I see him holding an old tattered Bible, his finger slowly moves over the Word and I hear a murmuring as he quietly reads in the corner. 

Hermano sits quietly behind me as I read a story to the children.

At lunch, he curls up in the floor in the back corner and covers his face with a small towel.  I am not sure how many from our team even notice him.

Now, I know he attends the church, but I still don’t know why he is at the church.  I assume he is there to guard the church and watch over the instruments and sound equipment.

The next morning we arrive and Hermano, that’s the name I hear our host call him, is at the same place we found him yesterday morning, at the altar.  I don’t think he has left.  I now know he is not without a home, but he is a watchman.  Hermano has committed to fasting and praying for the construction of the new church building for at least the three days I observed, but who knows the number in total. 

O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
they will pray day and night, continually.
Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.  Isaiah 62:6 (NLT)

As I observed Hermano, I realized he may be fasting and praying for our team who came to help raise the walls of the church.  He may be praying for me.  He may even be praying for you.  I began to wonder what his work looked like.  What encounters was he having with God? 

Although in the world’s eyes Hermano may appear insignificant based on his appearance, his job, and his material possessions, God sees him as precious and valuable, just like He sees all his people.  And God chooses to use him in his obedience.  Who knows what work Hermano has accomplished this week?  We see and capture pictures of the progress we made this week with each new row of block laid or wall painted.  But do we see the progress Hermano made in the building of God’s kingdom this week?  Do we even know Hermano is working?

I am humbled and full of gratitude.   A man I have never met in a city I have never visited lived in a church denying himself food for several days to pray for me, my team members, and maybe even my family and my church in Virginia.  He kept watch over us asking the Lord to work in us and through us. 

Through his actions he taught me and challenged me. 

And so I leave you with this verse:

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)

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