We were already in Mexico, separating into our worksite teams when we realized that we did not have enough people heading to the Caribe worksite. I had been assigned another site, and I didn’t know any of the guys on the Caribe team, but I volunteered to switch over.
Our team leader Rick Bergen introduced me to his friend, our team’s translator, driver, co-worker, and cultural guide, Jose Louis. Before introducing us, Rick had been describing his friendship with Jose to me. Jose had taken time off o f work that week to serve us, and joined us every day to provide help and encouragement.
Through our shared love of God, family, sports and working with our hands, Jose and I quickly became friends as we shared our life experiences with each other. His genuine love for Christ, his boldness in proclaiming the gospel, and his unconditional generosity was awe-inspiring. By the end of the trip, I was sad to leave and excited to know that I now had friend that I would see again who lived half way around the globe.
Today’s technology allowed us to stay in touch and keep our new friendship growing. It was with great joy that the news of his new son, Jose Emmanuel, had come into the world, and we celebrated together God’s new creation and his amazing head of hair, takes after his dad. But the joy soon turned to concern and concern turned to need.
Jose Emmanuel was born with a condition in which the bones in his skull are fused at birth. This does not allow for proper growth of the brain as the toddler grows and can lead to serious issues. It soon was apparent that he would need surgery and the only place to get that done was hundreds of miles away in Mexico City, and they would need to stay there for up to 14 days.
In preparation for the trip to Mexico City, Jose was trying to find living accommodations and transportation for himself, his wife, and his son. The placers they could afford were not know for their safety, and just finding and paying for food would put a burden on the family.
After hearing of the situation, I asked Jose to send me the address of the hospital. I tried to help, but with the size of Mexico City and the language barriers, I could not determine the best place for him to stay. I called Antonio, a friend and resident of Mexico City, for help to find them the safe living quarters. When I told him of the situation and the address of the hospital he laughed, “I can see the hospital right now. It is a couple of blocks from my office. Give me a few minutes and I will call you back.”
In less than 20 minutes I received a text from him,“We have an apartment and transportation secured and it is covered, it will cost the family nothing.” When I thanked Antonio he told me it was not necessary and that it was to be a year for God’s grace. He was right. I texted the guys on my work team from Chapelstreet Church to see if we could help with the rest of the expenses, and they all responded with grace and no hesitation.