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The hard part

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to the jungles on the mainland side of Belize for a mission trip. We were helping to build a school, but the additional assignment for our group was to visit the different villages and invite the residents to attend a meeting in each village to talk about books for their children. Our goal was to kick start a program so that preschool children in these deprived areas could have one book a month, every month, given to them. But there had to be a planned way to execute this, and both the availability of the books and what parents had to do to get them had to be communicated.

In this particular village, we had been told that we’d be meeting in the community center. I’m not sure what I expected, but the term community center conjured up for me some cross between a local YMCA and a rustic Starbucks, with no mosquitos, and possibly some cool relief to the hot days outside. In the above photo, we are setting up in preparation to explain our mission. You can probably tell it didn’t take long after arrival to dispel the visual images in my head. The building was functional, concrete blocks, with just a few weeds to wade, some chairs, but no active lights. Since the sun was rapidly setting, this was going to be a problem. There were no windows to count on so the mosquitos would be attending also. And, with or without the sun, the heat was relentless.

But, then, it didn’t matter. Parents turned out in droves. They got to the meeting however they could, many on foot. They stopped working if they had to in order to attend. And they brought their children whose excitement could not be contained. A couple of the guys started winding an old light bulb hanging on a string around the beams and out a window and they kept working until they could find some power that would keep the light on. We dragged a table to the center of the room and found it sufficient.

For some reason, this makes me think of Easter. Maybe because it’s so simple. I learned in the jungle that all you really need to have a good meeting is a table and a light bulb. Those parents did the hard part. I look at this picture and it makes me smile. Easter makes me smile too. The hard part has already been done. All you have to do is believe.

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