Updated: Mar 15
“Blessings and miracles are often disguised as insurmountable problems.”
Did you ever have one of those haunted house nightmares where safety is behind a door at the end of the hall? But with each desperate step, it moves farther and farther away.
This was kind of like that. But instead of a hallway door, I was looking for the end of a narrow truck container.
Specifically, it was a sixty-foot container of plantains that couldn't get any closer than three blocks away from our La Cuchilla feeding program. That meant 40,000 pounds of plantains needed to be unloaded by hand and moved to our garage.
My father-in-law, my teenage brother-in-law, Yesenia, and I looked at each other. No one said a word. My brain immediately sent a message to my back to start hurting. This was going to be a long day.
When the Chiquita representative called to offer the donation, Yesenia asked how many boxes were in a container. Apparently, the caller misunderstood the question because she said, “fifty”, which is actually the number of pounds of plantains in each box.
So, there we were.
Then the miracle started. Over time, dozens of our neighbors and friends joined us in our “Great Plantain Adventure”. Two pickup trucks shuttled boxes back and forth. Chains of men and women, young and old, passed the goods out of the truck onto the street and then into the vehicles.
As the sun went down, we kicked back and smiled at 800 boxes of fresh plantains stacked seven high that filled two bays of the mission garage.
Today, I can happily report that we shared our feeding program kids and their families shared plantains with hundreds of Ciudad de Refugio church members and our La Cuchilla neighbors.
Brothers and sisters from a dozen poorer churches and various charitable groups throughout Guatemala City also benefitted from our fortune, and kids in several schools and other feeding programs around the area enjoyed free plantains this week, too.
The huge truck that initially looked like a nightmare of pain and suffering instead brought a community together for a while and provided blessings for hundreds of needy people.
It’s easy to dwell on the negatives of situations. Certainly, there was a bit of pain involved. I’m still tossing ibuprofen down with each meal and my blistered fingers are a reminder of the value of gloves.
But there are lots of smiling faces around the neighborhood. It's not only that so many kids and their parents absorbed plantain-produced vitamins, protein, and fiber they would not have otherwise received this week.
It is the way our neighbors came together and dealt with a challenge.
So here I am, happily acknowledging that it was totally worth it.
And I can’t wait for the next truck to arrive.