10 Mar A Note From Donna
I sincerely have no words to describe our recent visit to Cozumel, MX. Spending time with many of the baby Christians we left behind 20 years ago and witnessing their maturity in their faith and their passion for the Kingdom reminded us of just how God works. Amid the labor, one sometimes feels discouraged and wonders if there will be fruit one day. In our case, we left the island and have only been back two times in 20 years, the last of which was in 2007. I felt as if I had entered a time warp, suddenly sitting around familiar tables with people we know and love deeply but haven’t seen in many years. They have a few more wrinkles and some grey hair, but they are the same wonderful souls who credit us as their parents in the faith, a title we hold with incredible pride and humility. It reminds me that our littlest efforts can bring great fruit, not because of us but because God gives the increase. Listening to their individual faith struggles and life hardships helps me to see just how God works in the lives of His faithful. The journey is rarely a straight path full of joy and peace. I personally don’t believe deep faith can thrive on such a path. The church of 150 that we left behind in 2003 has now become 5 separate congregations in different parts of the city serving the more than 100,000 habitants of the island. When we left there were 45,000 habitants.
One of the evenings we were invited to the home of a couple that has served the church and the orphanage for over 20 years. They invited their family members who are now Christians because of the church we planted. There were over 30 of them, all from the same family, all with stories of how God called them into a transformational relationship with Jesus. As they were thanking us, I truly felt so small and unworthy of any praise or gratitude. It is one of the most humbling experiences to step into the great work of the Lord in awe of what He has done and realize that you got to be a small part of the beginning. We were so unprepared, so unworthy, but willing to be used. God does amazing things when we are willing to be used by Him.
Overall, our trip felt like a big affirming hug from the Lord. All the families we spent time with knew and loved our Harrison since he was 5 years old. After we left Cozumel, Harrison returned each summer to serve as a translator and spend time with his childhood buddies. As we all shared our memories of Harrison, we also shared tears and our common hope of being reunited with him. One of his buddies, Victor, has worked at getting a U.S. visa so that he could see Harrison and use his physical therapist skills on him. His visa was granted 2 months after Harrison’s passing. This same friend remembers Harrison on his birthday every year by going out and purchasing all of Harrison’s favorite treats and sharing them with his family. Such depth of friendship is built over time and shared memories. We are so thankful for the rich relationships Harrison had on that little island.
Thank you for allowing us to share from our hearts about our recent experience. We have had very rich lives and thank God daily for allowing us the energy to keep working for Him, even in the midst of pain and sorrow. It really is worth the fight.