Our Sweet Christina
The text came through: “Do you have time to talk?” Our Honduran Country Manager had just learned of a widow who was living on the streets, in need of shelter and protection, and he was requesting permission to allocate part of our budget to help meet those needs. As we spoke, there was some urgency in his voice, as life on the streets in Honduras has its risks, and for the elderly, all the elements are working against them. Thankfully, a partner organization we collaborate with in the surrounding mountains jumped into action, securing an abandoned adobe structure just outside the city, tucked away gently on a hill … it was workable.
My travel schedule had me committed in other regions, but the timing of this particular need coincided perfectly with a supporter and friend who was headed down to Honduras to launch our safe water project in the nearby mountains. Without hesitation, Bob jumped on a flight and headed out with the goal of helping serve alongside the construction project for Doña Christina’s new living quarters. From the early reports we were getting, the abandoned adobe house needed a roof, new doors, water, stove and lots of TLC to make it livable. The work began and selfless love started to flow down upon Doña Christina’s new house. Over a short period of time, a new door was cut into the wall, a new pila water source was constructed, a patio and walkway of cement were poured, and a remodeled latrine transformed this tiny mud block building into a home. Members of a neighboring church a few miles away brought food, bedding, and essentials to welcome her into very own home. People from around the area began to gather and watch as TerraMica and the partnering church went to work on this tiny enclave. It was love in action, the very action Christ expects of us.
Jesus said: “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me. I’m telling you the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored… you did it to Me!”
After Bob’s second trip to work on Doña Christina’s house, he said: “Meeting Christina opened my eyes to the need. She was so thankful, her emotions pouring out in her prayers. Praying for thanks, praying for TerraMica, the strangers who showed up one day and changed the way she lived. For me, Christina gave clarity to what TerraMica’s pila water project could do to impact people’s lives. She impacted my life as much as we impacted hers. Meeting Christina made it real for me. Seeing both her need and her Love for the Lord opened my eyes and my heart.”
Two months later when I first met Christina, her sweet face reflected the decades, as she was perhaps born in the mid to late 30’s. She was physically broken, her tiny frame hunched over. She could no longer sleep lying down, so every night she slept upright in a plastic patio chair. Her small hands were scarred and leathered from decades of hard work. It was apparent that her health had been failing for years, yet her faith was powerful and unquenchable. Christina shared that early in her life, she heard the message that God loved her, no matter what her condition, so much that He would sacrifice Himself to draw her to Him. Christina then embraced God’s gift of faith and, as was apparent in the prayers I heard her offer up when I visited, that faith had sunk deep into her heart decades earlier. With each conversation, I noticed her eyes, as they always sparkled with passion and gratitude. Her stories had one common theme - that she loved God and so desired that the people of her country would come to know Her incredibly loving Father as she knew Him.
Now jump into the cab of our truck and drive with us. It’s been 18 months since Doña Christina came into our lives, and we’re heading north on the main highway out of town. We turn onto a dirt road and begin climbing gradually up a gentle hill that is spotted with a couple of old one-room adobe homes nestled into the slope. The grass and ground cover is wet this morning from the torrential rainfall over the last week and makes walking a bit tricky. There are a handful of people gathered in front of Christina’s tiny mud block house with loaves of bread and a few containers of coffee. Inside, everything has been removed except for her simple coffin and her beautiful broken body laying at rest within it. Her adobe interior walls are covered with wildflowers from the fields surrounding her humble home. Candles glow and flicker softly …with God’s arms open wide, I am confident Doña Christina is in awe of her heavenly Father. Her house is now a mansion, her pain is now peace, her family is forever, and her tears are no more; and she, sweet Christina, is clothed in robes so perfect and beautiful.
Well done daughter of Christ, you ministered to many of us deeply.