But there is something strange that happens when you are living 2,000 or more miles away from family and close friends and you are dropped into a culture where even getting to the store can be an all day event that you have to get over yourself, over your own ego, and admit that you need people.
On Friday morning I was in the community of Las Delicias working with a team that had come from West Virginia and at about 6 in the morning I woke up with severe stomach pains. I went to the bathroom and was in there for a long time. I tried to pull myself together and even got to the work site that morning, but it was pretty clear that after 20 or so minutes that there was something in my stomach that had to get out. I felt weak, hot and completely miserable.
Pastor Miguel, who is the local pastor of the Las Delicias community was at the work site with me and when he found out I was sick, he made a call to a doctor friend of his close by. The doctor wanted me to come in and see what was going on.
Pastor Miguel drove me to the clinic and made all the arrangements and in 5 minutes I was face to face with the doctor. He asked me some questions and took my temperature and told me I had a very bad bacterial infection that he believed was food borne. He gave me some medicine and told me I was to go home ( back to my apartment in San Salvador). Within hours, Margarita, a very good friend and co-worker, drove me back to my apartment.
I took the medicine I was given and fell asleep.
I am still feeling a little low as far as energy goes, but compared to how I felt on Friday morning, I am a new person!
I have found through several interactions like this that the more I am open and honest about how I feel and what I need, the more I am able to be in true community with people. If I am in pain and don't tell anyone about it, they don't have the chance to help me and share that with me. I would have never had so much time and interaction with Pastor Miguel, but because I was honest about what was going on in my life, he was able to reach out and help me.
I cry more living here in El Salvador. And it has very little to do with sadness, but more about letting go and allowing people in to my life. If someone asks me about my family, and we are in an intimate setting, I can open up and tell them how much I miss them and how hard it is at times to know that I am not there for important events or gatherings. It doesn't get easier. Jesus wants us to be open to Him, and to tell Him how we are truly feeling, but He has also created us in community so that when one of us needs encouragement, or tylenol, or some juice, or a hug, that we can be Jesus to one another.
Acts 2: 44-47
" And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and posessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people..."