There was a caption about us on a blog that said “Choosing Poverty” it made me cry but it also made me call unto God! I have my way of living out God’s will and usually it is kicking and screaming! So the word “Choosing” hit me straight in the face! Did I choose poverty! I know Paulino did not, he and his family were kicked off their fathers ranch when his dad died and his mom had many kids she had to split up to different people. At age 8 Paulino went to live in the city with a woman where he was made to take care of her animals. As for me did I choose this poverty or did God send me here! I can tell you from 1996 when He told me I would live in Baja I refused! His exact words to me were from Jeremiah 29:11-14. Verse 11 was also read at our wedding which was confirmation of God saying it took until 2011 for you to obey me and seek me with ALL of your heart! I had no idea how bad the people here in Mexico needed Jesus, the freedom that only He can give and the love that He has to offer!
I can say leaving my accounting job and my condo on Ocean Blvd eating out daily and the morning coffee and afternoon frozen yogurts were not on my list of things I could not live without! Sushi and pedicures now those were on my list! Missing my nieces and nephews growing up and them never really knowing their aunt and me never wanting to get married was also on my list! So how do I go from there to being a step-mom of a 14 year old disabled son and a soon to be born baby girl! Being wife to an evangelist and living in a trailer that leaks and has no running water and praying for our daily bread. A house that is never empty from children or drug addicts. Making sure to cook enough beans and rice to feed whoever comes by hungry and need the love and acceptance of Jesus.
So does poverty really stink! Well I am starting to see that Spiritual poverty DOES STINK! However financial poverty has its perks! Today the teenage neighbor asked for help with her homework and I gave her an answer, later on when I thought about it the right wording was Guinness World Records, so I stopped over to her house to tell her and her dad said come on in and sign for a despensa. This is a box of food, rice, beans, oil, cereal and some other things! The best of which was a can of tuna in water yes water not oil! Watching how God works is amazing meeting our every need right when we need it. He also uses us to meet others needs. Last weekend there was a dead dog in the road near the ball park so Paulino made a funeral for the kids to have for the dog and he buried him. We are able to offer food to whoever needs it even if it is the simplest meal. Meals that used to feed the three of us now feed 8 at times. We used to buy meat and milk and such for daily meals. Now they do not even ask for meat!
Some of the things He has provided just this week I would have never thought to use, parts of palm trees dumped at the dump. These make us feel like we are living on the islands and we have the base for the fence in front of our house. Our corner posts are tree trunks that only husband was strong enough to take away. The men at the trash dump gave us pallets to use for firewood to cook the food we bring them every week. Old buckets have now become our washing machine, manpowered by my hands or Paulino’s, while old floor boards from a demolished trailer have become the walls to the shack that holds Jose’s electric wheelchair with a tarp for the roof (thank God it has not rained yet). The best idea I have seen so far are the shot glass checkers set Paulino paid $2 US dollars for to use the as the Communion cups! Two dozen communion cups made of glass! Who knows what the checker board will be used for? Since our trailer plumbing for the kitchen sink was leaking out the bottom of the floor in the bathroom Paulino took out the pipes and ran one out the wall to make a gray waterfall so I can make a canal to start a garden!
Who would have thought that a full meal could be made out of beans and rice! I used to judge expectant mothers for not eating enough fruits and vegetables and judge my in laws for not giving their kids fruits and vegetables but now I have repented and understand some days there is not enough money for food. I remember judging the missionaries when we were in Africa that they had a yard boy and a house girl. Well I have read Proverbs 31 and it says the Proverbs 31 women woke early to give her servants instructions. Now if I had money I would more than happily have servants! When you live in town and your door is always open, the tiredness of my pregnancy and the problems of Paulino’s back and knee, I would be more than happy to have servants!
I decided to look at the word poverty in the back of my Bible. Many references refer to poor or poverty in a sense of the poor you will have with you always. Or in lazy people become poor however this is not what I have seen around me or in our home. Laziness for sure does not apply to people who leave for the fields at 4:30 am after getting up at 3 to make lunches and wash clothes to hang dry while they are gone and then come home by dark which can be 6pm. Lazy is not my husband who has to take care of Jose and I am wash clothes and blankets by hand and dig holes for toilets or for fencing, trenches for electric or water pipes. This is not the kind of poverty I am seeing around here in Camalu or in the Baja. The poverty is Spiritual and situational, some signs are desperation and hopelessness that there is a way out of this whole that is so deep you cannot see the sunshine. The fact that you have never been registered so you could register your children and without a birth certificate no one can go to school to free them from this cycle.
The poverty I see is more like the poverty spiritual where people who know Jesus walk in peace no matter the situation around them and that is what we are called here to do! We are called to walk in peace and love and share it with our neighbors. Daily we try to find a way to meet their needs that will bless them not make them dependant on us but dependant on God. Simple things like loving on their kids who are home all day alone or giving them a blanket that was handmade with love and prayer. Making a meal for the kids so they do not eat cup of noodle for breakfast every day or a tortilla and cold beans for lunch, bringing the men from the trash dump to our house to cut their hair. However no matter what we do daily we need to share the Word with them and also show them in our actions that God is the only true love and the only solution to their need to walk the road with Jesus.
The commentary in my Bible says this based on 2 Corinthians 8:8-10 not as a command. Giving to the Lord’s work must be voluntary, not compelled. And when it is voluntary it brings much blessing. was rich…became poor. A reference to Christ’s preexistent status as the eternal Son of God in heaven and the humility of his incarnation, including his death, so that the believer might become rich (salvation and all the benefits that flow from it). This work. What Christ has done for the Corinthians is to be reflected in what they do for others.
So if I have chosen Christ or He has chosen me is to theological to get into and I am not sure I care all I know is that the Great I AM is all that I truly need and all that I really have to offer anyone of any eternal good. Obeying Him is what I want to do even when I am pregnant and tired and too dark and cold to go outside and write a letter for someone in Spanish, who cannot read or write and is asking for help!
Jesus says the poor you will have with you always. So if we do not poor out our alabaster jar in worship to Him what will He have to fill with His Spirit for us to be able to give away?