Today was a heavenly day. We began with a visit to Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm. In Viking mythology, Valhalla is akin to paradise or a heavenly home. The farm lived up to its name being both beautiful and peaceful — a wonderful place for the team to rejuvenate after our first 3 days of travel and work. It was also very educational. Who knew that the Macadamia Nut tree flowers and produces fruit at the same time; or that it converts twice as much carbon dioxide as most trees (think antidote to global warming) and is a rich source of vitamins and essential nutrients.
Listening to all this I thought, “Macadamia Nut trees could be part of the solution to so many of the health problems we have seen at our clinics.” So it was really exciting to hear from Linda that Valhalla’s owner had donated 10 trees to Loving Arms. These trees will be planted on our property and will provide much needed nutrition to combat the malnutrition, stress, and depression that plague the poor we serve.
Next we drove to the Centre of Hope for Sunday Service. On arrival I was struck by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. Another surprise was soon to come. A special service had been planned to honour Linda’s father, Ralph Height, who passed to be with Our Lord in June.
The gratitude, love, and respect given to him was a reflection of the great gratitude, love, and respect the people have for Linda which was evident in their response to Pastor Oswaldo’s sincere, passionate words:
“Where is Ralph? …. In Heaven.
How are we sure? … He loved Jesus, and this we know because of Linda who has brought HOPE to Parramos. God has provided for our needs through you and the teams you bring here.
We see Jesus in you.
We love you and we sorrow with you, Linda.
Yet we also rejoice with you, Linda, that your father is with Jesus in Heaven and that you, and we, will be together there one day.”
What a blessing it was to be here! It was an emotional time for all of us, but none more than Linda who was gracious and composed as she tearfully expressed her gratitude to her Guatemalan family. Her closing words: “Be open and obedient. God will change your life” will stick with and inspire me.
After service it was Food Distribution time. Oh how we loved doing this! 130 bags of food were distributed to the sponsored children and elders of Parramos, Paraxaj, Parrojas, Corrales, and Chitabury. For Barb and Jeff, and myself the time was made even sweeter as we had the chance to speak, with the help of Loving Arms staff, to some of the those we sponsor personally. Words cannot express the depth and mix of feelings.