I pour steaming rice into one bowl after another, meeting grateful stares. Hungry children utter “gracias” as they smile at a bowl of hot food. Because we’re all human, we all have the same need. The language doesn’t matter, our hands brush as the full bowl makes its way back to hands in need and I remember how desperately all of our souls need God, just like our stomachs need nourishment. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Mothers hold sick babies, waiting for hours in the sun for hope of healing. I hug the girl with a joyful laugh and deep brown eyes whose body fights disease. Life is a battle between brokenness and hope. We all share the pain of this suffering. Blessed are those who mourn.
They run behind the trail of dust to catch a piece of candy flying from our hands as we’re pulling away. They aren’t too proud to laugh and chase for a moment’s sweet taste. And though we are there to serve them, they serve us. Blessed are the humble.
Though their days are stifled by the ravaging cycle of poverty, they work hard to put food in their children’s mouths. They help their neighbors, serving one another in love. Their government may be lacking, but their hearts are not. And we all understand, our hope for justice does not lie in our nation’s politics, but in God. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
They could find someone or somewhere to place the blame when there is no food for their table. Is it fair? Why is there no answer to the demand of impoverishment? But we all have the same choice day after day, do we seek revenge in our anger or do we choose to live in God’s grace? Mercy is ours because of the cross. Blessed are the merciful.
We raise our hands and voices together in worship, two languages but one God. The building is simple, but the hearts are sincere. The importance of the appearance and the production fades. Only one thing matters— our Father. Blessed are the pure in heart.
The women pass their babies to other mamas. They stand in line together awaiting food for their families. They speak to one another in quiet voices, laughing at each other’s words. The children share their new toys. They give their crayons to their friends who need a color to paint the sky or the grass. Life is lived in community. We all know what it means to be loved by a friend, to lean on someone else. Because our differences hold no significance in the eyes of eternity. Blessed are the peacemakers.
We sing in the middle of a Sunday afternoon in a concrete building without the rest of a chair. The sun streams through the open windows as sweat covers our bodies.Though they may have the freedom to praise God, they don’t have the comfort of an air conditioned building. The babies try to escape the arms of a sibling. Mama’s plead with the children to be still. But we are together, learning and praising because God is good. And we remember those who don’t even have the gift to gather together in worship. Why are we so quick to complain about the temperature of a sanctuary or the lighting of the stage? Don’t our struggles seem so small? So we lift our arms a little higher because we can and we pray fiercely for those who can’t. Because the church is for all people of all nations. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”
Matthew 5:3-10 (CSB)
These precious moments are from a week-long mission trip I took with my church to serve Nicaragua through partnering with Because We Care Ministries. Nicaragua and its people hold a special place in my heart. The glory of God radiates from their smiles, their faith, and their love. Though we went to serve them, they are the ones who are truly blessed. I’m humbled by the power of our God.
*Thanks to Larry Van Hoose and the rest of the Cornerstone Community Church 2017 Nicaragua Mission team for these photos that captured our memories