I am so glad you came back <3
Today I am hoping to use my words to share about the dinner we got to eat in the home of royalty in Cuba.
Two of the nights, our people from First Christian were divided into smaller groups of four or five and assigned a home for dinner and fellowship.
Our hostess the first night couldn’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen.
And yes…she was of the royal line of King David…assuredly a daughter of the King.
Dressed in a t-shirt and gathered skirt, her sandaled feet led us down the narrow streets and sidewalks for the long trek to her home.
She was constantly checking on us to make sure we were aware of puddles or muck since it had just rained.
At one of the zillion look-a-like doors in this city, she motioned us in to the home she shares with her grandparents and parents.
After introductions and the inevitable cheek kissing from her abuela, Melissa led us through a labyrinth of halls and courtyards until finally we entered a kitchen about the size of one found in a small apartment.
Tables had been squeezed into the small space and yet as her own youth group began showing up, it became evident we would need more place settings.
Her fiancee and one of the young men from the church went in search of another table and soon we were all pressing against the walls as they attempted to absorb more furniture into this already packed area.
Imagine one of those large corner banquet tables in a restaurant except you are eating in an elevator and you might get the picture.
As more plates were gathered, our hostess stood at the head of the table and asked a question I am quite certain I have never been asked at any dinner party.
She wanted to know if we wanted to share our testimonies before we ate or after.
Considering the language barrier with only three bi-lingual attendees to help us with this task, let alone I am not even sure I have shared my testimony with some of my closest friends, I looked around the table to see if anyone else was in shock…only to see the eager faces of five teenaged Cubans nodding their heads in excitement to share testimonies.
And so we began.
One by one…alternating Americans and Cubans…and we shared our testimonies.
The deepest and most sacred story for each of us…shared openly around this table.
After dinner, it was suggested we sing one of our praise songs.
Note to self…learn some praise songs by heart, Laura.
You would have thought I had learned my lesson several years ago in Kenya when we were asked to sing one of our favorite songs and the only one we could come with was “Jesus Loves Me’ …. and not the cool new version, by the way.
Our lack of musical ability proved no deterrent to our princess tho, as she and her fiancee had prepared a couple of songs for us.
And so we sat, humbled beyond words, in the stifling small kitchen that had turned into a holy sanctuary as he strummed a Fender and she worshipped the Lord on our behalf.
The next day she found me at the church and wanted me to know she had left gifts for us at one of the houses.
A handmade bracelet of white thread…carefully wrapped with a loving personal note.
Russ..me…all those in our group…received one.
She who gave so much…gave one more gift of love….thanking US for coming to her home <3
This is one of those times I feel my words have failed me.
Like my ineptness to offer a song that night, I find it difficult to capture the simple gift of hospitality we received on our trip.
I love to have friends in our home, but I fuss over the menu…the place settings…everything matching…fretting over the mismatched chairs around the table.
I hang my head as I type and I ask God to give me the kind of heart that was given so freely and lovingly to us that night.