What's on Your Wish List?

Dec 18, 2014

One of the most important points on my roadmap of faith lies in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. In this little town sits a Children’s Home, named Agua Viva, which my wife and I hold near to our hearts. As one of our mission partners, many Sherwood Oaks members and their families have had the wonderful chance to visit the home and spend time with the children and staff.

It was on one of my trips to the home that I was surprised by Christmas. We usually traveled to Agua Viva in the summer or over Spring Break, but this year, we had gone at Christmas. It was different in lots of ways. For one, the kids were not in school, so we had more “face time” with them. Also, as it was the Christmas season, there was a special joy in the home as kids and staff celebrated vacation from school and enjoyed our company.

On New Year’s Eve, the chaplain for the home, Eduardo, gathered the kids together for some singing, a short message, and prayer time before the big New Year’s celebration began. As we were praying, Eduardo began just as we might be accustomed; he prayed for health of our loved ones, success in work and school, a deeper relationship with the Lord and other things one might expect, but the surprise came next. As Eduardo was praying for the home and the children, he started praying about the things that they needed that year like new shoes, glasses, and clothes for the children. Eduardo's message went on to explain that we can lean on God to provide for us and give us what we need. The whole time he spoke and told of his own experiences the shock and surprise hit me over and over...this man has had to pray for shoes.

WOW...I was shocked. It hit me like a punch. I realized, in my own life experiences, I had never, not once, had to ask for the essentials like shoes, clothes, and glasses. I’d always been well cared for and had whatever I needed. Yet here were nearly 100 children, truly reliant on God to provide those things I had taken for granted for all of those years.

It rocked me to my core...I had never had to prayed for shoes. What had I ever done to deserve the life of luxury that I had? To this day, when I think of that experience, it makes me tear up. I pray that I’ll never forget that moment, being hand in hand with those less fortunate, who relied on God in ways I’ve never had to.

I try to hold on to that surprise each Christmas. Instead of being sad that the shoes on my wish list aren't available in my size, I should be thankful that I have multiple pairs to choose from. Instead of being upset that my favorite sweater isn't clean, I should be thankful I have a supply of sweaters and coats to keep me warm in the cold winter air. Instead of being upset that the eye doctor wants me to schedule a check-up in the middle of the holiday season, I should be thankful I have a doctor who I can get to at a moment's notice.

What is on your wish list this Christmas? What needs are you praying for God to provide this New Year? We are blessed, indeed.