A Day in the Life of a Missionary - by Karen
While Chris and I were out on an errand we encountered our friend, Jose, who is a very lonely, needy man that lives on the streets of Aguada. His foot was bandaged and he had more sores on his body than normal. We tried to engage him in conversation, but he was struggling to focus. We realize in hindsight that he expended so much energy walking in the heat that he was delirious. Through bits and pieces of conversation we gathered that he had walked almost two miles to go to the health clinic to get help for his foot, which was visibly (very) swollen, hot to the touch, and oozing with puss. On a good day Jose struggles to walk with the help of crutches because his right knee got destroyed in a street fight a few years ago; I can't imagine how long it took him to limp all the way to the emergency room as he endured the added pain of his horribly infected foot wound.
|Here's a photo of our plaza that I |
found on the Internet. It looks a bit
different now, but I figured it would help
you to visualize where we were sitting.
For the next two hours I sat with Jose. I held his hand and rubbed his back as he laid on a cement bench mumbling with his eyes rolled back into his head. When he drank the Gatorade he got painful air bubbles in his chest and asked if I would pat his back to release the pressure. A couple times he rolled over to spit...on my feet, and vomited so violently that it splashed all over my legs....but I didn't even care. At one point Jose asked if I was an angel sent by God to take him to heaven. He began murmuring about being ready to die and thanked me for being with him so that he didn't have to die alone. I wasn't really sure what was going to happen, but thanked God for the chance to love Him as Jesus teaches us to.
We learned today that Jose is 60 years old. Orphaned at the age of 10 months, he has had a hard life and was bounced between caretakers throughout his childhood. These last 35 years have been spent here in the little town of Aguada, so many of the locals know him. As various people passed through the town plaza they offered to give Jose money, to call 9-1-1, or even take him back to the little house by his cousin's where he's allowed to sleep....but nobody was interested in just spending time with Jose. At one point he leaned into my shoulder and thanked me for loving him. He said that he didn't want to go to the hospital/clinic anymore because the doctors can't give him the only thing he desperately needs - loving friendship. As Jose faded in and out we talked about life and death, about the Lord's love for him, and the fear he has of dying alone. He asked if I would take him back to his house. He wanted the rest of my family to meet us there so that he could die in his own bed with people around that really love him. Overhearing our conversation, a man standing nearby insisted on calling an ambulance. When the medic arrived he assessed Jose's overall state and recommended he be admitted to the nearby hospital. Jose begged me to go with him, but I assured him that he wasn't alone because Jesus was right there with him. Reluctantly, he agreed to go and was lifted into the ambulance.
I'm not sure if our friend will live to see another day, but I have peace knowing that Jose experienced Jesus' love in a very real way today.
or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.
Thank you and may God bless you and your family!