Just prior to our departure to Dolores, Keith delivered a short but impactful devotion. He brought us to Matthew 22:36-40 which states:
‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (NKJV)
Keith reminded us that the first part of the commandment is a state of being. We must first love our God. Then, where this exists, the second part of the commandment exists in a state of doing. If we are already loving our God, then loving our neighbor flows out of us naturally. That’s a discovery of application.
I pondered this passage during the week we spent in Dolores. Dolores is a remote Belizean village. And I discovered that it lies deep within one of the world’s most beautiful rainforests. And one of the churches in the village was in a state of disrepair. So EquipUs has partnered with them to build a new church in its place.
That week we discovered that a local contractor had incorrectly poured the footers of the facility. This presented a serious challenge to our team, as the footers are an integral part of the foundation. Bad footers can create a bad foundation which in turn can create an unstable foundation. Before we could progress on the structure, we had to correct the improperly poured footers. And that led me to another discovery. Even though I was covered in sweat, Belizian mud, and nearly swimming in the afternoon humidity, I thought to myself:
What an appropriate analogy! If our foundation is not loving God first, then anything built on top of that poor foundation will crumble. Loving our neighbor without first loving God and without first helping them love God, leaves us with a poor foundation prone to all sorts of structural issues.
Crack! The sound of a cinder block being chipped by a villager brought me out of my thoughts and back to the task at hand.
Discovering Practical Reminders
There is a mountain above the village. The people of Dolores refer to it as Mount Calvary. One of the days we were there, some of the young men guided us to the top. Later, we learned that in times past, animal sacrifices to false gods were made on that mountain. They call it Mount Calvary because Christ’s blood spilt on Mount Calvary has redeemed the sinful histories of all who would simply accept His gift of salvation. A creek runs along the foot of the mountain. That’s where the villagers bathe and do their laundry. They call it Sinners Creek. I had to admire the imagery and symbolism they had created with Sinners Creek running at the foot of Mount Calvary.
Throughout the week, I was brought to the point of near tears by the hospitality of those in Dolores. Many are subsistence farmers who must grow, gather, and hunt what they eat from day-to-day. I have stayed in hotels all over the United States and have never been treated so well. They served us heaping portions of delicious food at every meal. And some of the villagers gladly did our laundry for us. The only thing they asked was for me to tell my congregation about them. My conscience stung a little receiving their hospitality. I am a wealthy man in comparison, yet I have never treated anyone with such generosity.
A Call To Help
The day we returned from the village of Dolores, I found myself sitting in one of the breezeways of our Punta Gorda hotel. The afternoon rain (common for that time of year) had come and gone and a cool evening breeze had replaced the overwhelming heat and humidity of the day. We had given one of the village pastors from Dolores a ride into town. And it just so happened that the A/C repairman working at the hotel was from a village nearby his. They chatted quietly in their native Kekchi language.
As I listened to the long-separated acquaintances catch-up, I pondered the beauty of its sound. Its speakers often speak in soft tones yet with crystal clear pronunciation. And despite our complete unfamiliarity with the language (the team that went to Dolores), we quickly began picking up words here and there as it is what we heard spoken most of the week. Listening to them converse, the realization that it would be quite some time before I heard the language spoken again made me a little sad. But it also strengthened my resolve to return.
I am 33 years old, and I have discovered my calling. I love the people of Belize, and I want to invest in equipping the believers there. They are a people with hearts on fire for the Lord, and I was amazed by how missional and evangelistic they are. Their lack of stuff and distractions has them focused on what truly matters in this life – a relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Josh Molyneux – EquipUs Mission Volunteer
P.S. by Keith: Josh’s foundation analogy is an everyday application of I Corinthians 13:1-3 and so very appropriate. And I included Josh’s sign-off (Sola Gratia) as it is related to the one I always use. Sola Gratia is based on Ephesians 2:8-9. We are saved by grace alone – not by any work we can do. And to that, a proper response is Soli Deo Gloria – to God alone be the glory!
Previous Posts in this series:
God of the Unexptected – A Family Misson – The Body of Christ – Belize Mission