|Don Santos, Alexa and Marina|
El Maizal has recently welcomed 5 new babies into our community. We have Alexa, Alison, Alison, Caleb and Esmerelda. When I hold a new baby I am always amazed at how delicate, precious and tiny they are. It’s cliché but very true that babies are our future. I love babies.
The birth of Alexa has had an added impact on her family and their story impacted me. Her parents are Santos and Marina Portillo. They are active members of our church. Santos leads our Community Bible studies and Marina participates and has been the president of the women’s group.
As is custom here, after her birth at one of our services Alexa was presented and her family was blessed (not a baptism yet, that’s later). Then a week or so later at our Sunday service Santos asked that we all attend a special service of thanksgiving for her the following Sunday and a small get together after.
We attended the service and get together the following Sunday. It was a nice event, the phrase in Spanish goes like this, Siento el calor del comunidad. Translated it means I feel the heat of the community but its real meaning is I can feel the emotional warmth of the community. It was a genuinely happy event. The impact on me came from a story Santos shared with us about his family and their faith.
Before I get to that let me remind you of what the readings were after Easter Sunday. We had John’s, the doubting Thomas Gospel and we had Luke’s Gospel of Jesus appearing to the Disciples showing them his wounds yet, some still doubted. In these Gospels we see doubts even amongst Jesus’s closest of friends and we see their faith and hope in the midst of their doubts. It was a very tough and confusing time for the Apostles and their faith. The significance for me is that by nature we have doubts but by faith we can overcome the doubts and have hope for the future. Hope for our future on earth and hope for our eternal life.
Now, let’s get back to Santos. Santos told us how Alexa was an answer to his and Marina’s prayers. Four years ago they lost a baby girl who died 15 days after her birth. He and Marina we obviously devastated.
I can’t imagine the anguish of burying an infant child. Santos shared with us, he asked God “why, why, why”? This is a moment in human life where the faith is now under fire. An unbelievable tragedy strikes us and we look to God and say why, why me, why her, why??? The implication is why did you do this to me. This is when faith can be broken, put on hold for years or maybe strengthened. Santos told us that he and Marina maintained their faith and prayed to God that they be allowed to have another baby. As he became misty eyed and voice a little shaky, he said Alexa was the answer to their prayers. It took four years but God gave them Alexa. I can tell you that Don Santos was not the only misty eyed person there.
Don Santos and Marina proved to me what I thought. In our doubts we can still have faith. It’s hard, it’s confusing but it’s what we are called to do. Trust in God at all times.