Construction Team by Andi Wallace
In 4 days, one little boy stole the hearts of 6 adults. Elizondro, a solemn, hard working 10 year old, has been with us each day. He lives in the community of San Jose where we have been working. Today we saw his house -- a 20x20 wood shack with a dirt floor and sheets to sepearte the rooms. He is the 2nd youngest of 5 brothers and 1 sister and a mother. We didn't ask about a father.
His quiet spirit seems to magically appear out of nowhere, everywhere, working as hard as any of us. His smile was rarely seen but we felt his wanting, or perhaps needing, to be close to us. We spoke Spanish with him and taught him a few English words. When a group of the kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, few of them seemed to have ever thought about the future or even had a role model to emulate. Elizondro said he wanted to be a construction worker. He is such an amazing worker for his age that we figure he could round up the neighborhood kids in a few years and be their local forman!
Sharing the week with Elizandro reminded me of Pastor Mark's story from Nicaragua last year and about how he left this country without being able to tell his young worker friend about Christ in his own language. Mark seemed to agonize over that one lost sheep, just as Christ does for us. With that in mind, I didn't want to have the same experience. Pam just happened to have a coloful, artful children's Bible in Spanish that she offered me. While I didn't talk specifically about Christ, I did ask about his attendance at church (he goes regularly) and mentioned several times that the friends I was working with were from my church.
Today we brought the Bible and an El Paso hat to the site. Right before he had to leave at 11am to go home and change for afternoon school, we gathered around him. We presented him with the Bible and I showed him his name written on the inside, along with the name of our church as the giver. We then gave him several photos Pam made of him, with Jesus Loves You written on the back. One photo was of the entire team, with our names on the back. In English, he said "Thank You." He turned away shyly and we think he was holding back an amount of emotion that couldn't match what we all felt. He left for home as we tried to wipe our eyes and deal with the love we have for this young man and his seemingly hopeless situation. We just wanted to scoop him up and make it all better.
We are not the first team who has felt a strong connection to his quiet spirit. We have to be comforted in the fact that we surely won't be the last team to fall in love with him. And we have to believe that God will allow the new teams to continue to care for this young man just as God gave us that opportunity.