A little over a week ago Jason Reeves and I visited the Hernandez family at the EV Matamoros location, which lies between Matamoros and Reynosa, Mexico. This is just over the river, and is a part of the Rio Grande Valley that extends on both sides of the border for some distance. This border, like most, I imagine, is a murky, backwater area that doesn’t belong culturally to either nation. It is something other. In my experience, it’s not a quality representative of either, and not one you’d choose.
Our trip down and back was quick. We left on a Friday, drove the +/- 9 hours and arrived late Friday, just to turn it around on Sunday and do the same. Early departure, late afternoon arrival.
While we were there we were privileged to meet some long time friends of Don Elias and Doña Flora who were in visiting from Oaxaca. These friends were there at their wedding in the 80s and they have stayed in touch ever since. Probably no surprise that this couple also run an orphanage, or “Casa Hogar” as it is often called in Latin America. Actually, they have two, which are in the remote regions of mountainous Oaxaca where the Hernandez family got their start over 30 years ago. It was great to meet them. Hoping to stop by and see them on our Central South Mexico Tour happening next month.
I have visited the family at their border outpost, first in the city of Matamoros, and now a outside of town on the former Adventures in Missions base, quite a few times. Their hospitality is off the charts. I think hospitality is a external expression of internal love, and if so, they love big. I am always thankful for them and humbled by them in this way. Tho the visits have been numerous, this time would be different.
Similar to many visits before, we meet with the kids and hang out, as well as prepare something to share as an encouragement to them. This we did on Saturday night, where everyone got together in a circle and we sang and spoke, asked questions and hoped for feedback. It was pretty normal stuff…. hopefully encouraging. As I concluded the things I was saying, Jason had a few things to share, and I stepped away from the focus of the conversation. I had been there only a few minutes when something occurred to me, by the Lord’s inspiration, I believe.
I looked at the concrete walls and floor, I realized that within 12 hours I would be on the road, back to my home and family, but these children would still be here. They would be here when I slipped back into my comfortable bed, rejoined my routine, and settled back into my soft life that was 500 miles and 9 hours away by car. In fact, I realized, I knew little about their lives.
Keep in mind all but a few knew me by name when I arrived… only a few new kids hadn’t met me. We had some memorable times together in the past! That being true, I realized still, that I knew little of them, what they cared about as individuals, and how their plight of coming from a disintegrated family impacted their perspectives, and would weigh on them down range. It was a disconcerting revelation.
I didn’t have the sense of being condemned by this fact, by the way. Just the sense of the light of reality breaking on me in a new way at, what seemed to be, a late hour.
At that moment, I had a singular desire…. I wanted to be an expression of God’s love to them, each and every one.
We cannot relate to some circumstances that people go thru in life, so different from our own. It is hard to know their difficulties and challenges in a real way, especially if they are nothing we have experienced. But, we can be an expression of God’s love, because we have experienced that in meaningful ways, and we can share it. He will pour His love thru us, and this will be meaningful, to say the least.
Thanks for reading my little report. I ask you to consider it and see how it might be relevant to where you are. If you’ve known God’s love, you can be a living expression of Him. Love is a motivator without equal, and we can’t go wrong by loving, regardless of how much we can naturally relate to each other. If you haven’t known God’s love, ask Him to show it to you.
Here is the Hernandez Family, spending themselves in the service of others. I am honored to call them friends, and co-laborers. If you’d like to know more about the ministry at Esperanza Viva Matamoros, please contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on their US Cellphone Number @ 956-742-7677.