By Chris Cox, Director of One21
Jose is a caregiver at Manantial De Amor (MDA), a children’s home in Monterrey, Mexico. He is a creative who uses art and woodworking to nurture and guide the hearts of young men toward a healthy future. He invites each boy in the children’s home to work on a project with him. Their invitation is to build their own ship. Yes, that’s right, a giant ship that looks like it is built to sail the seas with an adventurer at the helm. The goal is for the boys to finish their ship before they graduate, signifying the completion of their training with Jose as they are ready to sail out on their own. It’s impressive, really.
Before I actually met Jose, I just knew him as a name in an email. One21 was preparing to go on mission with Back2Back Ministries for a week-long trip. One way we were going to influence the children was through investing in the caregivers of MDA. Our plans were to offer some training, prayer, and encouragement to the men and women who nurture the hearts of these children. The captains of MDA, Hope and Cheque Garcia, sent us a list of things each caregiver likes. At the top of the list was Jose’s name with these words:
“He is a vary talented artist! Woodworking and painting primarily. He teaches the MDA kids these things. He would appreciate any kind of art supplies or woodworking things specifically for him, as he usually just buys for the kids. He would also probably like some type of art book that has photos of different styles/types of paintings. He uses things like this to give him ideas for his work and his classes with the kids. He could really use a cordless drill… but that may be beyond what you were thinking.”
I have to find a drill. God has a cordless drill somewhere, and I’m going to find it. The search begins. After a day of looking, I find the answer standing right next to me. His name is Jason, a local painter, and he is one of my friends.
“Done.” he said. We could pick it up today.
For the first three days of our trip I feel like a parent waiting to give their kids gifts on Christmas. The mission team had found something on the list for everyone, but I wanted to give Jose his cordless drill.
As we prepare for our day, I mention to Hope, “We brought the drill.”
She begins to smile and says, “Oh, that will be such a big deal to Jose. He sold his last one so his daughter could pay for school.”
The tension goes to a new level. Let’s give Jose his drill!
After an amazing day with the children and caregivers, we are ready to give the gifts. It’s evident each caregiver is moved by the authenticity of their gifts. Now it is Jose’s turn. One of the boys from the home grabs Jose’s bag and walks it over to him.
Before giving it to Jose, he says, “I bet it’s a drill.”
Jose opens the bag, and with tear-filled eyes holds up his new cordless drill and whispers, “This was on my prayer list.”
Jose didn’t say much more that day. He just took his new drill from the box and taught the kids about it.
Two days later, we are loading the buses to return to the Back2Back Campus after a day with the MDA kids.
Jose approaches me and asks, “When do you leave?”
“Tomorrow morning.” I answer
“Then I will come to Back2Back tonight. I have a gift for you.” Jose replies.
A few hours later, Jose and I are conversing at the Back2Back campus around the gift he brought. It’s a ship he built. Hours have been poured into the craftsmanship. I would be mistaken if I take this as token to off-set the gift of the drill. This ship represents the Kingdom Jose is building, the young men he is mentoring, the generation we both long to serve. Ever the artist and teacher, Jose put the exclamation point on our journey by inviting me to sail with him, in spirit, in truth, in purpose.
Chris Cox serves as the Director of One21. He is passionate about serving orphans and helping students experience Jesus.