This past summer, God blessed me with the opportunity to increase my Spanish by studying in an intensive program in central Mexico. This is a picture of one of the many stands in and around San Miguel de Allende where I studied.
Often women and children will sit on the curb and sell dolls similar to these… it breaks my heart to see these children there for hours. One day, I walked by a little girl of about six years sound asleep on the pile of dolls that she was supposed to be selling… precious and heartbreaking at the same time. Seeing so many children on the streets makes me so appreciative of the children’s homes that we work with here in Monterrey. Sure the job of caring for so many kids and homes is hard, but it is worth it to see them having a childhood, going to school, learning about Jesus….
One day in San Miguel, I was calmly sipping my coffee in Starbucks (yes, Starbucks has taken over this part of the world too!) when a little girl, ten years old, came into the store and asked me to buy bubble gum from her. I have to admit that my first reaction was to kindly deny. But, after the girl left, I began to think about the interaction I had had with her. I began to feel convicted for brushing her off in the same way everyone else had in this town. Here was a girl who in so many ways is exactly like the children I serve in Monterrey. I thought to myself how Jesus would have handled that situation and quickly gathered my things and went out to search for the girl. I found her sitting by her mother on the corner still selling the gum. I asked the girl how much her gum cost and ended up having a beautiful conversation with her. I learned that her name was Maria and she was ten years old. She was thrilled to discover that I was a teacher. She told me which were her favorite flavors of gum and I promptly bought two. After a few more minutes of chatting, I said goodbye and began to walk home, feeling a little less convicted.
On the other street corner, I ran into an older woman with a small child. Both were sitting in the middle of the sidewalk with their hands outstretched, asking for money. I asked the woman if her child could have the gum I just bought and then began to talk to her about her life. Maria Paula and her grandson Erik Julian live outside of San Miguel with many other family members. Maria shared with me that it’s hard to provide for all the mouths she has to feed. Currently four of her fourteen children are still at home.
Maria and I talked for awhile and I was able to share with her about how the Lord has provided for me on multiple occasions when times were tight. Although I am sure I have never experienced what this lady has, she seemed to be encouraged by my stories. I prayed for her. She cried. God’s spirit was there. And I wondered why so many times I get caught up in my own bubble, my own goals, my own agenda and forget that I am on this planet not for my purposes but for His. This was a great awakening day for me… that ended with the gift of three new friends.