Tim and I had the opportunity to share a very meaningful documentary with a few people from our church this last week. Reparando (“repairing” in Spanish) is a story about the deep spiritual and physical needs in the largest slum in Guatemala City, and how God is at work repairing this brokenness through the love of Jesus in remarkable ways. The film begins by building the context of the deep poverty and gang violence found in the slum of La Limonada before unfolding stories of hope, joy and possibility.
After the film ended, we processed together images and aspects that touched us the most. Many people gravitated to the story of Luis (pictured here), who had been an outcast among outcasts. Simply through the love and friendship offered to him, he has found joy in Christ, dignity in offering friendship in return and a place in the community. The most powerful moment for me personally was when Pastor Shorty, after visiting homes in this shanty town and inviting gang members into his own home, posed the question, “What do you think Jesus’ friendship felt like?” His question transported us to this scene in Matthew 9:11-13:
When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Jesus pursued the least of these, even broke bread with them. If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, shouldn’t we too be found in their homes? Having experienced his grace in our own lives, apart from anything we did or could possibly do, are we not compelled to move towards the people and places that also cry out in need?
We believe God’s heart moves toward the lost and the poor among the nations. He pursues them and invites us to do likewise. The prophet Jeremiah (22:16) even asks, “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” God makes it clear that we can know him by pursuing what he loves, by having our hearts break for what breaks his, and by being a part of the work he is doing here and now to bring repair to the world’s brokenness. When I watch stories like the ones in Reparando, I think of Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Some of the work highlighted in this film is from Lemonade International. This community development organization began through the overflowing love of Tita Evertsz (shown above) and has grown as others have joined in the vision for what God can and will do through us when we follow his example of looking and seeing people as image-bearers. Through trusting, compassionate relationships and a range of ministries including a church, two schools, and a micro-enterprise project, the dignity of the poor as God’s image-bearers is guarded and many are discovering hope for here and now as well as for eternity.
There are many ways to get involved with La Limonada (through Child Sponsorship, Teacher Sponsorship,102End and so on), but one important way to “speak up for those who can not speak for themselves,” (Proverbs 31:8) is to find spaces and friends to share this film with. Invite us over and we will bring our DVD to your living room. Purchase the film and watch it with your family. Find a venue and host a film screening. Share this story. Be filled with joy and hope. And remember this same God at work here is at work in your heart. He is making all things new, and uses the likes of you and me in the process.