I spent the last few days in Ichmul and Chikindzonot. Those are not prisons. They are quaint villages in the middle of the Yucatán Peninsula. I’ve traveled to these villages for several years with my good friend, Mauricio Menesses. Mauricio and his wife, Laura, started a mission work in Ichmul that is so fascinating. These villages and several more like them have a few thousand people each. Most families in the villages do not have floors in their thatch-roof homes. Most do not have running water, and many have no power. Windows are rare; families often share their homes with goats, pigs, and chickens. In short, these are desperately poor folks.
AND YET, they are gracious, kind, welcoming, and gracious. They have problems, but they proved something to me again this week. They proved that you can be at peace with little or much. They are dirt-poor yet keep what they have as clean as possible. They work hard with what they have. They have no healthcare, doctors, air conditioning, or entertainment. No WiFi, cable, or restaurants. They are predominately Mayan people with an odd mixture of faith. There is either a zero-faith system or a mix of witchcraft and catholicism. Clean water and food security is a massive challenge. They walk everywhere. A few folks have little scooters or bikes, but most of these kind folks never wander past a few miles from where they were born.
My purpose in traveling to Yucatán is to bring fresh, clean water, food, and faith to this forgotten part of the world. The goal is to build twenty water wells, twenty churches, twenty community gathering spots, food distribution systems, and meaningful work in each village. I know – like I need one more thing to do. But if you could see these folks, you would be amazed at their resiliency. Somehow, they keep going. They keep striving. They keep caring for their children and sweeping their dirt floors.
But all of that isn’t why I am writing today. I’m writing to convey a simple lesson I keep learning from the women, men, and children in these little villages.
THEY ARE GRACIOUS, KIND, WELCOMING, ACCEPTING, AND GENEROUS…AND HAPPY!
Every home that I have visited over the last few years has welcomed me into their homes without reservation. They share what they have. They are friendly. They are willing to accept you as you are without any judgment or comparison. I’m not sure how many homes I have been in, but I’ve easily been in dozens of homes. In each home, I’ve offered three things. I’ve prayed with the entire family. I’ve offered a listening ear and the story of Jesus and His love for them. In every single home, men and women have chosen to accept Jesus as their gift from a loving God. They have discovered a community of faith. Learned to worship together and enjoy the fellowship of a loving church led by men and women just like them!
Can you imagine what would happen if those folks were to knock on your door one day? When you saw their dirty faces, darkened, leathered faces on Ring doorbell cameras,
would you call the cops or open your home to them?
Would you share your food, drink, and living room, even for a few minutes?
That’s okay. I’m not sure that I would, either. Truth.
But these people didn’t shut me down. They didn’t call the cops. They didn’t give me a lecture. They never turned me away. They welcomed me and shared everything they had. And in that small gesture, they proved Paul’s point in the New Testament. He said, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” But did you know that the precursor to that statement is key to the promise given?
Paul wrote these words…
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Maybe we folks, here in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, have chosen to forget the concept of contentment and exchanged it for greed, selfishness, barbed-wire fences, and our never-ending fight for our rights. Maybe instead of our rights, likes, friends, followers, and platforms, we need to slow this insane pace of life down a bit. We need to know our neighbors and talk with our family. I think we can learn a lesson from the Mayan Yucatán people. Be content with little or with much. Be generous with what we have. Be grateful for what we have instead of pouting and rioting over what we wish we had.
We live in a whacked-out, messed-up world. We live in a radically imperfect nation. But we are more than blessed people. We have problems, but we have problems that are, for the most part, self-inflicted!
Would you be willing to join me in starting each day through the end of July by jotting down two things you are grateful for? Would you be willing to consider opening your home to a neighbor? Would you hold your family tight and thank God for them? AND would you consider praying for the people in the twenty villages that we are attempting to love, serve, and share well?
Please do not read this and assume that I’m doing something special. I am not! I am a blessed man with the privilege of representing you and many more folks like you with the people of Yucatán. Friends, we must learn the secret of how we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. And that key is learning to be content with little or with much. Starting with me and my selfish attitude. You and your selfish attitude can join me in this contentment – and gratitude!
Thanks for reading my article today.
Go in Peace,