Not too long ago, on one of our normal mission outreach days, I returned with my spiritual pride gutted. What we get to do here is exciting, costly, and humbling. To be honest, I have to constantly ask God if He’s using me in spite of myself. That thought is nearly too much to bear. I’m thankful for the history of those who loved God, who were greatly used by God and at times driven to the ground by their own weaknesses. Yet, God is always there saying, “I called you; I will be with you! I will take away the evil of your heart! I will accomplish my will, regardless!”
On that day, we left our immediate local context and headed out for some distant small towns and villages. As is our custom, we pick up new disciples along the way to teach and demonstrate the making of disciples in settings very similar to their own. We stopped in a small neighborhood called “Guadalupe,” and picked up several adults and one child. The child’s name was “Lydia,” and she’s a 3rd generation disciple of Jesus birthed by the work of indigenous missionaries in the region. When we met Lydia she was 9 years old. At the time, she had been new to the area, having been recently removed from her mother to live with her birth father and his family.
Lydia was, in every way, a modern-day slave, held ‘captive’ by her birth mother, not educated, and forced to work under harsh conditions. Her father, a second generation disciple of Jesus received the message of the gospel with joy and eagerly spread that same message throughout his family and neighborhood. Lydia was one of the first to embrace the love and liberty of Christ. At the time, Lydia was illiterate, but watching her transformation via the power of the gospel and the confirmation of the lives lived in proximity to Jesus was astonishing. The social challenges of her former seclusion were quickly overcome by being on mission with us and ministering to others. She started attending school locally and began to flourish.
On this day, after we picked up Lydia, soon to be 13, and a few others, I was heading out to some more remote areas and dropped her and her father off in a tiny neighborhood along the way. After spending a few hours preaching the gospel there, we started heading back. We saw through a windowless house that Lydia and her father were inside with a number of other people. We got out of the van and approached the house only to see Lydia, sitting on a hammock, reading from the Bible and talking a bit about what she had just read. I watched and listened in amazement.
After she was done, some others shared and spoke of the things of God. Lydia saw me peeking through the frameless window, smiled, and ran out to me. She grabbed my hand, and excitedly brought me into the house. She said, “Brother Miguel, I want to introduce you to my mother.” Let that sink in for a moment…
I was floored! Lydia was making a disciple of her Mom. On that day, the gospel was portrayed not only in words, but by her actions of forgiveness and mercy towards a woman, who had before, only caused her pain.