Teaching, TravelsMarch 28, 2014

The Gift 03.28.14

I could write a story about all the dogs we have dealt with. No kidding. It is funny but not funny because they don’t bring out the best in you. I won’t even mention the ones we deal with in our crowds.

There’s this one right now that lives in the park across the street from where we are staying. I call it “My Little Phony”. During the day it kisses up to visitors. They feed and pet it. It seems all so sweet. Then about two o’clock in the morning it let’s loose it’s true colors. It just starts yelping like a mad dog and keeps me awake for hours. I want to ring it’s cute little neck. It’s so weird cuz when I see it during the day playing with unsuspecting visitors I just think “You little phony”. Weird, I know. It happens after a while.
What IS funny is that when we first got to South America we put a big stuffed animal dog on the front of our van. It has a puzzled look. It’s quite funny. You would never believe how much this one little, seemingly insignificant, act has  affected thousands and thousands of people. I’m not exaggerating one bit. There is not one time when we are driving in a city that people walking down the street, at stop lights, in their cars, etc. take a double and a picture on their phones. People break out laughing. Construction workers all stop and point while laughing hilariously. Truck drivers stop. Many, many times this   quite filthy dog has gotten us into places and won us favor with officials or police. It is something no one would imagine unless they could see it first hand.
On a serious note I recently mentioned how when you work on the street as often as we do it is common to deal with so many kinds of people. We deal so often with people who have mental issues. Last night there was a very tall older man who came into our crowd and sat in the front. He danced with Elizabeth in a folk dance I wrote called Cumpolkia (From the Colombian “Cumbia” and my polish heritage “Polka”). He seemed quite normal, at first. Then slowly he started to try to dominate the crowd with strange behavior. He was obviously some kind of a mime as he would pantomime certain things. Then everything got extremely weird. He just started crawling on all fours  and making bizarre faces. He was begging for money and saying he was doing it for us. He just took over the crowd. Some got angry and others laughed but it wasn’t funny.
After a while he just walked out, but then turned back and shouted to his son to “Come on”. He actually had a son. Oh, if you could have just seen that scene. His son had been begging him not to do some of the stuff but we didn’t know it was his son at the time. Just imagine that relationship! It broke our hearts. This man had completely lost control of his  mind.
Couple of days before that there was a guy in the crowd who seemed famished. Obviously a street bum who had nothing. David went to McDonalds to get him something to eat and brought it to him. He refused it. He was not in his right mind. Then another woman shouted out “I’ll take it”. He gave it to her and she was so happy. She was a woman who talked like a child and was just extremely slow in her cognitive motor skills.
That same day an older woman came out of the crowd charging at me in a violent disposition. She just started running around the crowd yelling. It was obvious she was on drugs. Finally I was able to get my arm around her and stilled her. Ruth took her to get something to eat. There are also many people with down syndrome in this city. A young man came up to dance in one of our dances. He was so beautiful. Abraham gave him his hat and scarf that he wears in the folk dance and, as you may imagine, he reacted with great excitement and emotion.
The crowd watched as he ran up a hill to show his father and his father was the same with excitement. I mean how do you not just weep when you behold something like this? We were invited to a school for special needs children (retarded). It was run by a young woman who you’d never imagine. She appeared as a burnout rocker but had the heart of gold. The rich neighborhood had complained about the facility because they were afraid one of them would escape. She didn’t know what to do. She had no support. We spent the day with them, loving and teaching them, and gave them some money to help, but hardly enough to bring any remedy.
Not that I am any kind of people-caring-martyr or anything because what I am talking about is really  just common natural love that every man has, that I believe is just below the surface of a human nature caught, driven and blinded  by the snare of self-obsession. When you see the vast need of mankind and the ability of the same mankind to help fellow mankind yet watch people on the streets who, not only could care less and are consumed with nothingness  but laugh at and mock those in such need, you understand God’s justice. God will settle everything on The Day. All will give an account.
 This is one thing that Jesus says He is going to use to determine our eternal destiny (Matthew 25:41ff).
Some people we deal with are nothing less than demon possessed because of horrendous things they have been subjected to. One guy was so beaten up he was completely despondent when we offered him some food he could barely put it in his mouth. Minutes later another guy came over with a brick in his hand demanding the food. I tried to talk to him but he was so insane he just wanted to hit me with that brick. He was almost naked and what clothes he wore wreaked with urine.
On and on go the stories of countless lives laid waste by a world that rejects the Creator.
We went to a park where tons of homeless guys hang out to distribute food and clothing and you just see how there are so many levels of mental stability. And how there are the veterans of devastation and the novices just entering the field of hell. Some guys are just gone. Other guys have just landed in this hell hole and the looks on their faces tell a story of absolute fear and unbelief. Just a few words here and there can go a long way in giving hope to a hopeless man.
One young man was just so grateful and actually reciprocated an interest in us. We were able to give him a large piece of foam for a bed at night. Another guy blind sided us by stealing the mirrors on our van.  Everyone is an individual. We each have a gift inside of us placed there at birth. It is a well of creative power. It is not meant to sit idle. It is a substance not meant to remain stagnant. It must be given to others to emulate it’s capability to us and to others.
It is the very thing that makes us who we are. It is the secret to discover our true identity. It is called LOVE. When you expend it you realize how small you are but at the same time it begins it’s process of making you so much bigger. Jesus says it’s like a mustard seed that at first is nothing but a tiny speck but when it grows it can house multitudes of birds looking for a home (Mark 4:30).
You wonder what is your purpose? Start giving this out and you will find it. Scores of people are waiting, needing for YOUR gift.