Cristina caught me at an intense moment. I was frustrated and worn out by the needs of the people. Everyone needs something. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is looking to you to solve their problems. It was one of those days at the Rio where I felt like I had nothing more to give and yet people were still coming with their problems, financial crises, and needs. Needless to say I was frustrated and worn out. At this moment, Cristina caught my arm and pulled me aside. Cristina is a women who lives in an impoverished community just outside the Rio area where Back2Back serves. She has several kids and you can tell by just looking at her that she does not have many resources available to her. (You can also tell by just looking at her that she has a very real relationship with Christ!) Cristina volunteers her time and talent helping to cook at the soup kitchen nearly every week.
“Hope,” Cristina said, “I just wanted to tell you that I have been looking through my things and my kids things and have put together several bags of clothing that we really don’t need. I was wondering if you could come by my house in your car and pick up the bags and take them to the people in Rio III.” (Rio III is a very impoverished community that was nearly wiped out during Hurricane Alex.)
I was astonished! I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure? You don’t need these things?”
“No, Hope,” Cristina replied, “I know there are people that need these things more than I do.”
I gave her a hug and tried to keep back my tears. In my year of consistently serving in the Rio this is the first time I have seen anyone offer or desire to give away some of their own things to someone else. Poverty can be an ugly thing when it gets to the core of people and makes them believe that they always need more, can never have enough, and couldn’t possibly give anything away. I was so encouraged by Cristina’s heart to give freely of her own possessions to those who “needed it more than she did.” After a frustrating afternoon, this was like a cool drink to my soul! I’m praying blessings on Cristina as she blesses others.