Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 ~~ Dare to be remarkable

yesterday the epic norwegian cruise ship came unexpectedly
into the coxen hole port
they had to re-route due to hurricane earl.

so bob and i headed down to the 'made in roatan' shop
to try to sell things for our island friends.
it was a great day all around.
not only did alot of people come in but they were
also interested in what we were doing,
many were touched by how the Lord could change our hearts,
draw us from our own culture to come help the people here
and change our focus from ourselves to helping others
and on top of that: fortunately many bought too!!
to those of you have stopped by and bought some local art:

i want to tell you about one young man that came in late in the afternoon
his name is llewellyn
he worked on the cruise ship and was from st. vincent
as soon as i heard that i began to talk to him about the garifuna 
since that is where the garifuna that live in punta gorda originated from.
he was happy to talk with someone who knew about the history and cared about the people
we talked for quite some time
then he said 
'i think i was meant to come in here'
i can see you have a giving heart and you love God

he asked if he could tell me a story and
i love a good story so i happily said yes.

here is his story

"a few years the ship docked in belize on christmas day. i didn't want to get off the ship and had slept in late.
there is no reason to go into port on christmas day because there wasn't anything open but i was really prompted over and over again to 'go ashore' so reluctantly i did. when i got off the cruise ship it was as i expected: empty streets and nothing much going on! 

i almost turned around and went back on until i noticed a lady with her daughter sitting nearby and when i smiled they asked me for some change to help them since the mother explained that her daughter was expecting and had lost already 2 children and they needed money for food to eat.  the father had abandoned them and they were desperate!  i gave them a few small bills and set off on my way.

   i walked for awhile and then headed back to the ship.   as i was heading back, the mother i saw earlier  had prepared some simple food and invited me to come and eat with them. i didn't have anything else to do and since it was christmas day i decided to be with them for awhile.  we had a good time talking and getting to know one another.  as it was time to leave i felt prompted to give them some money but the problem was that i only had large bills and i didn't want to give them that.  but the prompting continued so i  reached into my wallet and took out the money, smiled and said, "merry christmas!  for you and your unborn baby. don't worry everything will be fine."  believe me it was the first time i ever gave a total stranger 100.00!!!

i left belize feeling happy in my heart knowing i had done the right thing.  the next week the ship once again docked in belize so i went ashore to see how the girl was doing. we talked further about the baby and she shared her fears about losing her child .  i laughed and said, "you aren't going to lose that baby.  let's go into town and buy it some clothes, and blankets."  so began a weekly visit with this family where i continued to support the girl and the baby.   many people thought i was the father but i wasn't.  i just felt i was supposed to continue to encourage and support the girl.  

 one time when the ship docked in florida i decided to go ashore and go to walmart where i bought all sorts of clothes, toys .. everything you'd need for the baby!!  it was very crazy but i felt so good!  i knew in my heart that this was what i was called to do. 

i enjoyed my visits with the family where i would bless them, talk to the unborn baby, hug the mom  and i grew to love the family very much.  many people thought i was crazy for getting so involved but i knew that i was supposed to continue to do all i could to prepare for it's birth.  each visit gave the mother hope that indeed she would be able to carry the child full term.
in february i once again landed in belize and was surprised to not see the girl anywhere around.  i was worried that she had perhaps lost her baby but the family assured me that the baby was born prematurely and both of them were doing fine!  i was happy to be able to see the little girl and even had the privilege of naming her.  (he told me the name but i can't recall what it was.  it sounded like a female version of his name.)

the baby grew and was healthy.  i continued to provide for the family each time i came to port. one day the young girl told me that the father of the child had come back and wanted to be back in their life. she wanted him back too.  i didn't feel any resentment  but was just happy that the father had finally came to his senses.  i knew my job was done.  i had done what i could."

you might think this story is 'too out there' 
'too bizaree' 
' too risky'
but i believe it is 'SO LIKE GOD!

he told me that he  looks back over that experience and says it has changed him forever. 
  he knows that the most important thing we can do is to think of others.  
that is why he was so thrilled to come in our store and meet kindred spirits. 
i admit i cried several times during his story 
because i could see what a beautiful generous heart he had.

further evidence of his good heart is this:   
before he told me his story
i told him about pedro
  pedro is from punta gorda. 
he is garifuna.
i had just found out that day that pedro had died 
2 weeks ago 
due to diabetes that he had been battling for some time. 
i told llewellyn that i had gone to the market to pay him and saw a young boy sitting there. 
i asked, "donde su papa?"   (which means where is your dad?)  
when he told me in spanish that his dad had died.  
i couldn't believe it! 
i was sooo shocked
it is so sad because his wife now needs to take care of 5 children
and this young boy, maybe 10 at the most, was at the market trying to provide 
for the family.
i was overcome with sorrow and it brought tears to my eyes immediately.  
when i told this story to llewellyn he immediately said, 
"i need to buy something to support this family."
immediately he took action
he didn't think about it 
he just said,
i am going to buy one of his necklaces to help support that family!
he did.
dare to be different
dare to care
dare to give
dare to go the extra mile or two or three
dare to consider the poor where ever you are
dare to open your wallet
dare to love as Jesus loved
giving time, energy, food .. 

dare to be... different.

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