In most of the Latin American countries, people set bars in their windows and built fences and gates to protect their property. That is something we cannot remember seeing during our time in America unless it was a very dangerous area.
More than protecting our possessions, we do it to protect the most wonderful possession that God put in our hands, our families. Latinos are, in a very large way, family oriented.
During our short visit to Chiriquí, we stayed with our beloved brother Walther Miranda and his family. He built his house on the land that his in-laws gave him, next to his mother-in-law’s house. They have a wonderful relationship. The world usually jokes about a bad relationship with in-laws, but we know of many where the relationship is amazing. This was one of those cases, and we delighted to see this happening with this beautiful family.
More than that, after the morning services this past Sunday, they prepared a surprise birthday party to one of their cousins, and the house was full with children and adults, family and friends, English and Spanish. We were able to setup a video call and have one of their family members, who is still studying at MSOP, to be part of the celebration, remotely.
Once again, family time is a priority. But hospitality is too. The brethren received us in such a great way that we feel at home, as part of them, because, after all, we all know that those who are in Christ, are part of the biggest and most wonderful family, the family of God. We do not call each other brother or sister just as a greeting, but as an affirmation of the relationship that we have, the love and respect for each other as the blessing that we have in being part of God’s family.
“Safe at Home” is more than a phrase we can use to refer when a Baseball player is able to score for his team. In order to be safe at home, we build our houses not only as a comfortable place, but we also add some items to keep us secure from those who want to take what is not theirs, and also from storms, floods, winds, heat, cold, and other situations that might be dangerous to us. To be safe at home is to know that in that place we will find people that love us, support us, encourage us, and be there for us.
In the closing of the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord said,
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
There are some that, sadly, built their houses in places that are not safe. They are at risk because of that decision. When the storms come, they are afraid of what could happen, because they know they are not in a safe environment. But, they keep doing it.
There are many out there that, while they know the truth of the gospel of Christ, they decide to live their lives in ways that are totally opposed to the will of God. They know that there will be repercussions based on their acts, but they keep doing it. If there could be something sadder than losing the house that was built with years of labor and efforts, it is to know and realize that there are people out there that prefer to “enjoy” this moment, and condemn themselves eternally, because they do not want to do what is required to be back at the home that God prepared for all of His children. There are many others that do not know, and it is our responsibility to reach them, in loving and respectful ways, to let them know what they must do in order to enjoy the blessing of being in God’s house.
Our Savior let the disciples know about the plans of the Father,
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).
That is a powerful promise. We are looking forward to that moment, and it is our plea that whosoever is reading this, have that same desire and hope to be there.
When we departed Memphis, a couple of months ago, there were tears. When we departed Chiriquí yesterday, there were some tears. When someone departs from this world, there are many tears. But, when we realize that if we remain as the obedient and faithful children as God wants us to be, we have the certainty that, there will be one day when there will be no more tears, because we will never need to depart, when we will get that promised reward known as Heaven.
May our Lord bless you richly, being safe at the home that He provided to us, a home that is in Christ, and that home, while we are still in this part of heaven, is the Church.