Take a Closer Look–A Dollar Made the Difference . . . August 2011

WOW, what an awesome 10 days I just had in Cozumel. Every time I come to the island it seems that I am blessed way beyond what words can express. Each time I leave, I begin to plan for the next trip and to ask God just what His plans are.

Last February, when Byron and I were in Cozumel, we watched as David Dean, the Chaplain at Texoma Chapel, presented Eloisa, the director of NUAFA a beautiful leather-bound Bible. As Eloisa held the Bible she shared that she is beginning to have trouble seeing small print. We have had multiple requests for large print Bibles from others having trouble seeing. I began to process this and thought, another one of those things we take for granted is that when we begin to have trouble reading, we go to the local stores and purchase a cheap pair of reading glasses. The wheels were now turning in my head and I remembered that I could purchase reading glasses at Dollar Tree for only $1. Now, I have to be honest, I was thinking glasses were cheaper than the large print Bibles, not even taking into consideration that if you can’t read your Bible, you can’t read anything. As soon as I got home, I began picking up a few extra pairs of glasses each time I was in Dollar Tree. Karen took some glasses to Eloisa and she was SO thankful. By the time I boarded the plane for Cozumel in July, I had accumulated about 40 pair of glasses. Little did I know what an impact these glasses would make on lives of those I met.

When we distributed school backpacks at Vida Abundante, we put out the reading glasses and invited children and mothers to take a pair if they needed them. One young lady who would be a high school student, worked diligently trying to find the right glasses that would help her read her books. There were lots of smiles on lots of faces as they found the right magnification. The best part was still to come though. 

After the backpacks were all distributed and we were packing up, the men from La Esperanza were invited to come try on the remaining glasses.  La Esperanza is a residential addiction rehabilitation program for 10-15 men located in temporary housing next to Vida Abundante.  The men of La Esperanza participate as church members. They didn’t care that some of them had rhinestones on them, or that they were styled for a woman. They were just so thrilled to be able to see to read. We found out later that the men had been asking for glasses a few days before we were there, but we did not know that. Now, I don’t know what your beliefs are, but to me that is definitely a God thing. God put a burden on me to purchase the glasses and take them now knowing that there was already a special request and need. I have seen this over and over as we continue to work in Cozumel and I am so grateful that God allows Byron and I to serve Him in such an awesome way.

One dollar can totally change the life of someone. I’m afraid that I am guilty of taking my possessions for granted as I am also guilty of not appreciating all that God has done for me. By American standards I am just a middle class citizen, but by the standards in Mexico, I am very well to do. What if I had been born in Cozumel to a family out in the jungle? What would my life be like? Would I even have the opportunity to know who Jesus is? Would I get to go to school? Would anyone even care if I didn’t have enough to eat? Would someone spend $1 to bring me some glasses so I could read?

What are our responsibilities as Christians? Do we have any responsibilities? Do we love Jesus enough to sacrifice some of our time and resources to touch some lives who need to see Jesus with skin on–you know, like you and me, loving them and trying to meet some of their needs? Don’t miss receiving one of the biggest blessings you can ever imagine by making yourself available and ready to serve our Lord.

This modified quote of George Carlin is one of my favorite sayings. I hope when I arrive at the pearly gates I will be shouting LORD! WHAT A RIDE!  ~~Ilene
Life’s journey is not to arrive at the gate safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Lord! WHAT A RIDE!”

Note: Ilene was one of several Friends of Cozumel volunteers and donors who traveled from Texas, Nebraska and Iowa to combine vacation with community mission projects in late July through mid-August. Photo front left to right: Ilene Kendrick and Barbara Dean; Back left to right: Treva Mahan and LaFonda Stephens, all from Texas. Ilene coordinates the Bible Blessings Ministry, SAIL Bible study cruise for women, and co-hosts Friends of Cozumel Mission Trips.