Last Sunday was potluck Sunday. I prepared food, practiced with the music team, taught Sunday school, directed music during the service, greeted people, and put away a few things. I had just sat down to enjoy my potluck meal when Stacey tapped my shoulder. “There’s a young man here. He doesn’t speak English. Perhaps you could find out what he needs.”
I was the only person there who could carry on a conversation in Spanish so I got up and walked over to the doorway to meet Juan. He wanted to attend the Hispanic service. He was more than two hours early. He was on foot.
I invited him to get a plate of food. Then we talked. Juan left his Central American country months before. After the devastating hurricanes of last year, the country experienced hard times. There was no work. He needed to support his wife, their small child, and his mother. So he decided to travel to the US for work.
He came by train, traveling for a month. The conditions he described created a “cattle car” image in my mind. Many travelers died of starvation or exposure. Juan was a believer. He praised God for protection.
I prayed for forgiveness. I had been wrapped up in my morning activities and forgot that people in the world and in my zip code were suffering. Then I prayed for God’s blessing on Juan’s family. He was soon enveloped in the welcoming arms of new Hispanic friends.
The stories in this issue of The Voice may stir our hearts much like Juan’s story stirred mine. Perhaps Christ will stir within us the passion to connect with different cultures next door or around the world in his name.