While turning through the treasure chest pages of the valuable Word of God, God's journal, something switched a light on in my heart... The Author of this book never spent more than a few sentences to describe the places that the characters walked, the things they've seen. He didn't think it necessary to explain how the garden of Eden looked and what the view from king Solomon's palace was. We never read about the colours, smells and sounds of the market place in Babel or the dusty streets of Emmaus, the inside of a big fish! How did it feel to walk through the Red sea, I mean, could the Israelites actually see fish swim on the other side or was the water simply like a huge window? Oh, but the beauty of this Book, seeing that all that the Author had on His mind was people! Everything is about people when it comes to what He is most interested in, amazed at and passionate about... people! So, as I walked into Cuba I asked this Author to change my heart so that it can look more like His, so that my journal can look more like His!
Instead of writing this blog about the many sunrises over the rooftops of this communist country, the classic old cars, the cheap ice cream, the ancient buildings or the music-filled parks, I decided to tell you guys about the treasures that I found while thinking about the empty pages of my journal.
Señor Francisco is an old peanut vendor, walking through the streets of Santiago de Cuba. His dusty shoes are worn through and the grey jazz hat on his head has seen many years. While being on a spiritual treasure hunt Fred and I met this man, over flowing with Jesus inside of him! In broken Spanish we could confirm what the Spirit told us, as he excitedly took his valuable Bible out of his money bag, smiling, laughing with no front teeth! We prayed with him, in the middle of the busy street and he, being homeless and very poor, he blessed us with free peanuts! The next day there was a visitor at our door. Señor Francisco brought his South African friends a bible, in a country where the inflow of Bibles were stopped three years ago, so that we can bless someone else with it! Mango's just because he had extra! That Sunday señor Francisco came to church with his worn through shoes and faded hat, in a crowd of well-dressed, well-off people, smiling and hugging us with a love that made me see God's heart. We stumbled upon a treasure far more valuable than any old building or classic car!
The youth group of the church we served at blessed my heart with so many treasures in our three weeks there. Oh, but there is one specifically that I have to single out...hurricane Sandy! Santiago de Cuba received a double hit last year as she entered and exited the country through this city! Every time that I asked one of the young people about their experiences of this terrible time, I got the exact same, strange response: their eyes lovingly, excitedly lit up. Man, it doesn't make sense! Some of them saw how the wind removed the roofs of their houses, destroying all of their electronics, ruining furniture, threatening their lives! I didn't understand until I saw the beauty of their hearts, flowing out of their mouths. The one thing that they remember and talk about when it comes to the month of October 2012 is the opportunity they had to serve the people around them after the hurricane! In a country where it is illegal to evangelise outside on the streets, these hungry-to-share hearts took the gospel to the houses of people, accompanied with a cup of soup and hands that's willing to help rebuild and clean! Ten months later they still rejoice about the opportunity that God gave them to share His Word freely! WOW! What a privilege to do for a whole year what these brothers and sisters may only dare to do when a hurricane comes along.
So after a month I am looking at the tear spilled, love filled pages of my journal and understanding why God spent all His ink to write a Book that speaks about His heart for people! It is in people that you will see God's hope, that you will experience His grace, that His beauty is revealed! And like the man who went to look for a treasure and sold everything to buy the piece of land where he buried it, it is in people that God led me to find His treasures...