We spent a day at the beach in the middle of the week, and something beautiful happened.
After we had been swimming and snorkeling and bouncing on water trampolines for a while, I made my way back to shore. I passed a couple women – both quite a bit older than me. One was standing where she could just touch the ocean floor and the other was swimming laps around her cousin.
I don’t even remember how our interaction began – someone asked the other what they were doing in Haiti or something like that.
She told me she was living in the mountains and working with farmers to learn sustainable and fruitful farming techniques. She drove over four hours to get to the beach. She was also part of a reforestation initiative that planted over 20,000 trees last year.
I told her I was from Iowa; she was from Minnesota!
Over the next hour she shared with me what brought her to Haiti. She told me how the Lord had called her into mission work when she was 15, but she said, “yeah right,” and kept going with her life. She told me that her husband had died 4 years ago, and she decided she would finally answer that call, and so here she was.
I shared with her what brought us to Haiti, and how God had been so good to us. I shared how God had provided miracles and showered us with grace during my pregnancy and the loss of our son.
She told me her daughter was going to have a baby in September after a long time trying.
Two complete strangers, and, yet, there was something that bound us together. There was something that connected us in a way that made it seem like I had known her for years – like she was family. It wasn’t really something, though. It was someone – Jesus.
And that was the beautiful thing. Because of Jesus – our common ground – we were able to share life with one another in an amazing way. As she told her story, I saw my Jesus, the same Jesus, intervening in her life, loving her, and revealing his goodness. And I think she could see the same in my story. I saw a heart that had been saved by the same man who saved mine. That’s a powerful thing. We didn’t even think to ask each other’s names until I had to leave, and I realized I had no idea what to call this woman.
Only Jesus can deeply bring together two strangers who are more than twenty years apart in an hour.
Off the coast of Haiti, in waters that I’m not sure are the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea, I found a sister. Her name is Mary.
Thank you, Jesus, for the way you bring your family together across the world.