A Cup of Gratitude

She looked out her door waiting for us to walk by.    She had a smile on her face.  I wasn’t sure what she wanted, but I had this feeling this woman had a plan.   As we walked on the sidewalk approaching this woman’s house, she stood there outside her door waiting for us.  As soon as we were next to her home, she gleefully handed me a cup.  It was filled with a warm drink made of corn and cinnamon.  Our country staff person looked at me and said, “she wants to offer you and the group this drink.  Please take it, so you are not rude, but don’t drink it for it might make you sick.” It’s always awkward to take food that you know you can’t safely consume, but I smiled and thanked this woman with my most enthusiastic voice.

I was rather surprised thinking this random woman would offer us something.  After all, we had just finished visiting the home of Lisa-Jo’s sponsored child and were making our way through the neighborhood back to the bus.  Who was this random woman who sweetly gave me this cup?

I looked inside this woman’s small home and I watched her run back inside to her small kitchen area to prepare something.  She skipped through her home as if she had a happy tune playing in her head.  I was felling horrible that she would use her resources to prepare something for us.  We were strangers!  It seemed wrong, especially as I looked around at this impoverished neighborhood and knowing I could not drink what she had prepared (unless I wanted to spend the rest of the week in my hotel bathroom).

After a couple of minutes in her kitchen, the woman skipped back to us with an entire pot of this creamed corn drink.  She gave us plastic cups and her entire pot and sent us on our way.

Today we went to a project where 195 children sang to us at the top of their lungs.  The church project we visited today began 16 months ago and has dramatically changed the lives of the children who are attending.  One of the major problems in this area is malnutrition.  At the project, the children get fed. Today, I saw happy children dressed up,

wearing bright colors and beautiful smiles.

I watched them praise God singing, “LORD YOU ARE GOOD YOUR MERCY ENDURES FOREVER.”

From the outside looking in, these kids seemed like normal, happy kids.  I did not see poverty.

As we drove to the neighborhood of  Lisa-Jo’s child, I recognized it.  I recognized the smell; I recognized the dirt, the garbage, the metal roofs, the flooded streets, and the mangy dogs.I recognized poverty. This is where the children live.  This is where poverty takes hope away.

But the church project?  What a contrast.  A safe place, a refuge….a happy place.  Truly what the church should be; a place that brings hope.

So who was this woman?

She was the mom of one of the children from the project.  A mother who simply was grateful for what Compassion had done for her child, and through this cup, she said thank you.

Humbling.

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16 Comments on “A Cup of Gratitude

  1. I totally agree Kristen. I need to drink more often from the cup of gratitude. Patricia, one of your best posts ever. Beautiful.

  2. You didn’t say what you did with the drink… but I and six others experienced a similar situation during a home visit. I was noticeably perspiring and the mother took pity on me and brought us all a drink, with the largest serving coming my way. Initially I panicked wondering what lay in store for me. Not wanting to offend the generous offering this woman had made, with a silent prayer, I and the others finished what this poor woman could scarcely provide. God was good, and we all came away without ill effect…

  3. Pingback: A Cup of Gratitude | Kids Church

  4. reading everyone’s blogs and my kids keep wondering why I am crying. Thank you for sharing…. you give us a glimpse of where you are and what Compassion is doing…. even though we can not BE THERE…. you are allowing us to BE.

    following, praying and thankful….

    touched deep.
    Teena

  5. Pingback: A Cup of Gratitude | cross:focused

  6. Great post…I did a very similar one yesterday about my trip to Peru. It’s my favorite post from my trip because in a neighborhood that screams despair and hopelessness, the church and Compassion project are places of hope and light.

    This is what I love about Compassion. Their commitment to Jesus shows through the faces of the children they are ministering to.

  7. I know that this dear woman is probably nowhere near as old as the etched lines in her face would have us believe. But, if she were old enough….. with her eyes so full of tenderness and her simple smile, absent of vanity or pride….I would want her to be my grandma! I want to sit down on a porch and break some beans with her and hear her tell me about what it is like to raise her children in that neighborhood; to trust God and His Church for the very life of her children. What a beautiful picture of the widow’s mite! That was a true “sacrifice of thanks”. Isn’t that what we call worship? Thanks Patricia! Rest well.

  8. Amen.

    Patricia, I signed up to be a Child Advocate once we got back from Peru. I’m about 1/2-way through my Child Advocate training. Give lots of hugs for us Lakes.

    Also, I don’t know if you ever saw my Mission Trip Guitar blog – it’s in reverse-blog order – read from top to bottom.

    http://www.missiontripguitar.blogspot.com

    -Scott

  9. The shelter today was just as you described it, a refuge, a beacon of hope, a light in the darkness, a warm meal for the hungry.

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Impact Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Missions trip

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Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones

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