This is a story of how a lady in Guatemala got me to loose a bet and buy all my friends dinner.
Tita grew up in Guatemala City and was drawn to the people in La Limonada. La Limonada is Central America’s largest slum (and most dangerous). But Tita didn’t let that stop her.
She decided to walk right up to the slum’s gang members and asked if she could pray for them. The group of gang members (probably a little confused) took off their hats, set down their guns, grenades, other pocket items, and prayed.
Twenty years later La Limonada now has 3 schools, a safe home, micro-financing programs, you name it! All because of one brave soul taking the time to invest in the place most people avoid.
I asked her what I need to do to impact others the way that she does. Her answer was simple yet profound. “Train your mind to be present, not the past or the future”.
I like that she said ‘train’, because this doesn’t come natural for me. Sometimes I get convicted of going through a whole day checked out or going through the motions. But to really make a difference in this world, and the people around me, I should be more like Tita and make the most of every opportunity.
She inspires me to want to intentionally look people in the eye, to not see them as just another human being occupying space, but rather a God-given soul that matters.
From Tita’s inspiration my friends and I made a simple bet. When we go out to dinner, we stack our phones on top of each other and we are not allowed to touch them until its time to leave. If someone grabs their phone early then they have to buy everyone else’s meal. Sounds harsh, but authentic community requires intentionality and trained focus on the community we’ve been blessed with.
So I’m not saying that we should all quit our jobs and start a gang ministry but one act of random kindness can change the world a little at a time. Let’s be more like Tita and train our minds to engage the world around us.
I lost the bet. But I’m still in training. Hope my friends enjoyed the free food!