Conversations in the Rubber Plantation

March 7, 2013

Story telling in the rubber plantation
Story telling in the rubber plantation

Today I was reminded of the miracles of grace that happen when you are “available” to be with friends. It is the joy that teenagers know about and the leak adults experience little by little as “production” or “tasks” become the priority.  I always appreciate the way God teaches me. Well….maybe not always! It may be more accurate to say I am thankful that God continues to teach me. Yes…that is it.

This is where La Toma gets its name. “Tomar” is the spanish word for “to take” and this is a place where people “take water”.
Rubber plantation
Rubber plantation
Felix resting after our 2 mile walk. His son, Bryan, is playing ‘school

So we are walking through an area called Aldea which includes a rubber plantation. This is simply across the road from La Toma but I have never ventured in this direction.  We have a purpose: we are walking the water line of what will soon be 8 miles of pipeline for the water/well project. That means 500 families will have water in their homes once this is complete. I wanted to see it.  So…there was a “goal”.

Much more happened than my learning about the water project.  Felix began to share his story and it just so happened that the rubber plantation held a bit of it.  He stopped to rest (it’s very hot walking but the canopy of the trees is wonderful) and after he stopped he began to say, “I didn’t always live here; I lived over there”, pointing to a distant area.  “But we moved when I was 10 and that is when I saw her…Aurora.”  The story continued.

Pastor Felix and Aurora
Pastor Felix and Aurora

After sharing the love story and a few other life challenges along the way,  I asked him to give his wisdom on marriage.  His three things:  First, place God in the center of your marriage because you cannot do it successfully without God. Second, you must learn to understand one another. Third, you need someone to help you understand what marriage is…that it is not like dating and it is not being single. It is responsibility and a whole different focus for living day to day.  Felix recommends a class prior to marriage so people can grasp the changes that will be needed. What struck me about his sharing was the clear “change” necessary when you move from a life of singleness to a life of marriage.  We call this “pre-marital counseling” in the USA. Felix is just saying, “there has to be a change and most people have no idea what they have to to do to make it work.”

As an aside – Aurora is helping us think about ideas for the summer mission and particularly ministering to the women in the community. It is good to hear her voice.

Felix and his padre, Alejandro, who happened to be walking through the plantation this morning.
Felix and his padre, Alejandro, who happened to be walking through the plantation this morning.

I know these visits under the rubber trees are a gift.  One of the things I appreciate about this culture is that it’s OK to spend hours strolling through the rubber plantation looking at a vision of water lines and telling stories.  I am reminded of Hebrews 12:1  “Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Watch for surprising moments to have conversations under the rubber trees in your life today.

5 thoughts on “Conversations in the Rubber Plantation

  • So good to hear from you. These conversations are gifts to us all. I’m just a bit homesick for Guatemala, but mostly happy for your involvement with our friends. Greet Felix and his family for me if you get the chance.

  • Ahhh, the joy of being with friends and listening to them tell their life stories. From your exeriences we can all learn great life lessons. So glad to share in your experiences.

  • I am reminded of the many times I have heard. Bill and Bob both tell of conversations with Daddy when they were ‘working on the fences’. … And that’s what I thought of as I read of as I read of you Felix walking the water line…. Conversations admist life… So valuable !

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