Last week our neighbors and friends, Jose and Marlenis, asked if we could drive them to Caña Blanca so they could pick up some supplies from their little rented farm place. Today was the day. We left at 8 this morning for the rough but beautiful drive. They rented a farm there last Spring from our rich neighbor. It has a small house, next to a creek for water, and they were raising a few head of cattle and corn and beans on the property.
Last November the land was sold and they were told they must get the cattle off immediately, but could wait until the bean crop was harvested before moving themselves. The contract they had signed was not honored, but they were satisfied with being able to at least harvest the beans before leaving. We are talking truck patch – size plot of land full of beans – all of their money went into planting and fertilizing the crop. The cows had to go because the new owners plan to plant coffee, and poisoned that part of the land with herbicides that would kill the cows.
Unfortunately with the cows moved, Jose could not milk them daily, and had to travel every day to take care of them in town. This became impractical, as it is a 3 hour walk to the farm from here, and some may remember it was Jose who broke his ankle last year, and he still has problems with it. Necessities forced them to move back to town.
So, there we were today, in this perfectly remote, jungled area with wild birds, and many other animals scampering about. It was so peaceful and calm, yet they were tearing down outbuildings, and collecting their meager belongings (which all fit into a 5 gallon bucket and a large cook pan) to move back to town.
Fortunately Marlenis has a small house just up the road from us that was built for her by the government about 20 years ago, so they are not left with no place to go at all. However the lot is very small, and they have worked hard to purchase two horses, 2 pigs, and a few chickens and turkeys, with no place to safely keep them now. It seems a common occurrence here, to finally think they are getting a bit ahead then be thrust back down. Such is the resignation of the folks here. It is sad, but we understand better why they are so accepting of whatever fate comes along.
Jose has found a temporary job building fences just north of town, and so they will not starve, but they are heart-sick to leave behind the months of work, the tranquility and peace of the farm and knowing it was their own hands that produced their food. Me too. It was good to be with them for a time today. That is, after all, what ministry is all about – helping those who are down when they need it most - reminding them that they are loved, by us and by God.
I know how blessed we all are, and I ask you today to just take a moment to think of Jose and Marlenis, say a prayer for their tomorrows, and remember a prayer of gratitude that you have a home, food, transportation, all the things we take for granted daily, knowing that others, like these dear folks, have nothing but faith in God to help them survive.
All because of Jesus!