I feel like I should unload on you what I’ve been doing, seeing, and experiencing over the last few weeks here, but that would also fill more blog posts than either of us want to read/write. Instead, I’ll be posting some highlights over the next few days so I feel like I’m sharing this time with you, and also so you feel like you’re here with me.
Let me tell you about the time I saw the hands and feet of Jesus.
This past week we served a group of families from Camp Mati in Texas, which is a camp for children with cancers of different kinds. These kids and their families road-tripped out here, risking a lot, and simply wanted to feel like normal kids again. Throughout that week, I poured out of myself everything I could to make these families feel like they were in a safe, healthy place for their kids and that they can finally stop worrying, even if only for seven days. During that time, I met a kid named Marco, whose parents and sister loved him so tangibly. Marco is in a wheelchair because six months ago he found out the tumors on his legs were cancerous, so he had them amputated. This young boy who was running around on Halloween was now fully dependent on his family to take him places, and you could tell they were still learning too.
As a part of the weekly experience, the whole camp hikes up the mountain to a lookout point. It’s beautiful and stunning, but also requires some work to get up there. No matter what, Marco was going up the mountain.
Four guys that I’ve met here created a platform with a chair for Marco to sit on and be carried up the mountain. They had body straps at either corner of the lift and each shouldered a piece of the weight as Marco was moved to his own VIP seating and began the journey up the mountain. These boys crawled over fallen trees, across creeks, up steep stretches of rock, and got this kid to that lookout point.
I walked with his mom for part of that trip and saw how emotional she was to see her son seemingly limitless for a day because of some guys who love others so well. She held my hand and wiped some tears and kept hiking because she couldn’t miss seeing her kids at the top of that mountain together. It was breathtaking and honestly, there were moments that I had to stop and look up to the sky to keep from getting emotional because of what I was watching. Those boys were the hands and feet of Jesus that day.
A few days later, my friend, Aaron, was telling me that he got to talk with Marco’s family after the hike and he said that Marco is actually getting prosthetics at the end of this month so he will learn to find normalcy again with his new legs. While Aaron was telling me this, he started to well up and I saw his smile begin to shake as he said, “Marco said that he can’t wait to come back next year so he can carry someone up the mountain just like he was carried up.” I lost it. I started crying and laughing and even now as I type out this story a week later, my eyes are trying to hold it all in because we all love Marco and his family and the idea that my friends loved him so well that he wants to love others in that way makes it all worth it. It makes sleepless nights and exhaustion and everything worth it, people. That’s the real stuff.
That is one story of so many I get to be a part of and I couldn’t be more grateful.