Unexplainable Silence at Georgie's by Karen
Shortly after moving to Aguada we began exploring the town. We found a basketball court and hamburger joint, the hardware store and bank. We also discovered the corner where folks go to escape from life. At this particular corner sits La Marqueta de Georgie where one can buy paint brushes and canned sausages, lottery tickets, fishing hooks and an assortment of alcohol. There's a video gaming room in the back and the woman behind the counter, who I'll call Iris, cheerfully sells shots of liquor and individual cigarettes as she jokes with the regulars. From the time we stumbled upon Georgie's corner Chris felt called to minister to those who refer to this little place as their second home.
After more conversation Iris began to warm up to us. Finally, she confided in me that her youngest son was born blind. For sixteen years she fell to her knees every day when she awoke, at midday, and again at night to beg the Lord for a miraculous healing. Like St. Monica, she never gave up. The next part of the story I missed because I couldn't understand her - between her trembling voice and thick Puerta Rican accent my only hope was to decipher her gestures...which didn't tell me much. She waved her arms around her mid-section, looked up to heaven several times with teary eyes, waved her arms some more and then said that at age 16 her son was miraculously healed. For the last two years he's been able to see perfectly. Although Iris' faith is obviously unshakable, she assured me that her customers don't want to hear anything about Jesus. Again, I asked that she just give us a chance...which I'm SO glad she did.
Last Thursday Chris and I returned to Georgie's corner. We greeted Iris and asked her to say a quick prayer for us. We plopped down on the curb and begin chatting with those gathered. When the time seemed right we stood up and begin introducing ourselves to each little cluster of guys. We explained that we would be reading the gospel; afterward, we had fried empanadas to share with everyone. Iris then walked out of the store, tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Let me handle this." She proceeded to inform everyone that we are missionaries and that we would be reading a story from the bible. She made it very clear that she expected them to be respectful and quiet. Iris then nodded to Chris as to say it was time to start. As Chris began to read I crossed the street and sat alongside those a bit further away to see if I was able to hear him. La Marqueta de Georgie is located between the two main roads where everyone "cruises" in cars with huge, blaring sound systems that make the windows in the houses vibrate. Click on this link to see an example of a typical Puerto Rican Sound System.
In addition to the music, there's always a ton of other noise: people yelling, tires squealing, horns honking. Three times, while Chris was reading, I yelled to tell him to read louder because I couldn't hear. At one point Chris had to pause while an extra loud car - with extra loud passengers - passed through the intersection by Georgie's. When the gospel story concluded Chris gave a reflection. To our surprise, many of those gathered chimed in and shared their thoughts about the story as well. After a bit of time one of the guys yelled to me and said, "Hey, don't you have anything to share?" So, I explained what the story meant to me and reminded them of Jesus' mercy and unconditional love, which are gifts that we are incapable of earning. As the discussion continued I bowed my head and said a prayer of thanksgiving because things were going way better than we had anticipated and exponentially better than Iris predicted. As far as I was concerned, this first time of preaching God's Word on Georgie's corner was a big success; little did I know that it wasn't just a "big" success, it was a miraculous success. Let me explain...
Chris and I stayed at Georgie's corner for several more hours that night. Iris put on some fun music, one of the regulars got out his homemade instruments, and we danced the night away. I praise and thank God for all He does to reveal Himself to us in the most unsuspecting ways. I am most grateful that Iris and Mr. Bouncer were willing to give us a chance and, like them, feel eager to see what else Jesus has planned for our ministry at Georgie's corner.
I am eternally grateful to all those who have and continue to support us in this life of missions. Together, we are an amazing team! Please pray for our ministry at Georgie's corner, that through the Word of God, the people there may encounter Jesus in a transformative way.
May God bless you today and always, Karen
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.
Thank you and may God bless you and your family!