During a recent missions trip to Ichmul, Mexico, one of the most interesting women I met was Bartola. We connected instantly because she was a wife and mother of three daughters similar in age to my own. Once we made that connection, she began to tell me her story. Bartola was only able to attend school through the second grade because her grandfather needed her help at home to raise her siblings. Her father passed away when she was one year old, and her mother abandoned them shortly thereafter. Her grandfather was very knowledgeable of the medicinal properties of plants and herbs, and shared his knowledge with her.
Bartola was proud to tell me that her girls have never needed to go to a doctor for illness; she helps them with what we would call naturopathic medicine when they are ill. However, about a year ago Bartola began to have chronic stomachaches herself. These went on for several months, and nothing she did seemed to help ease the pain. Thus, she began the medical journey. However, this came at quite a financial cost. The family had to make an unimaginable choice: seeking to find out what was wrong with Bartola physically, or keeping their palapa (home). Unfortunately, they could not afford to do both.
The family decided to put their home up for sale and move in with Bartola’s in-laws. After seeing many doctors in Peto, Tejelope, and Cancun, Bartola’s stomach pain improved. But, as a mother, she still hopes to provide a home of their own for her family someday. Bartola expressed deep gratitude toward the women of WOW for being given the opportunity to provide additional income through the making and selling of hammocks. Hammock sales put her one step closer to helping her family achieve their dream. She also is very excited to be a part of the water station micro-enterprise that WOW has worked to provide through the Mission House for the Ichmul community.
I pray for Bartola, and the other women that I had the opportunity to share with throughout my week in Ichmul. A well from which water is drawn is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s work in our lives. While on the trip, a geologist in our group shared that when you dig down in the earth for water, the drill must penetrate deep enough to be able to receive the flow of the water back up and out. We can choose the site, we can drill down deep in the earth, but we are completely dependent on the water to flow back up through the earth. The same is true of us: I can choose the women I share Christ’s love with, I can go deep with them on the struggles of life and God’s words of truth, and I can pray that it sinks deeply in their hearts and minds. Yet, I am completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to enable them to receive and accept it, and for Christ’s living water to flow through them. Just as He allows each one of us to accept that truth, and then living water to well up and flow out of our lives.
Lord, let these precious women of Ichmul choose you, and may your streams of life-sustaining water begin to flow through them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.