Do you ever start things that you’re not sure you’ll be able to finish? Do you believe that God will compensate for your incompetencies, or do you shy away from situations that might require skills and resources that you don’t have?
In the book of Hebrews it says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Having faith means recognizing our own limitations and proceeding with confidence, trusting that the Lord will provide all that is needed at exactly the right time—just like Eusebia and her family did.
Last year, when 8-year-old Hazel asked her stand-in grandmother if she could begin preparing for her sacraments at the church here in town, Eusebia said, “Yes, of course,” even though she had no idea where they’d get the money to pay for her dress, shoes, and baptismal candle.
Eusebia is a 60 year-old Nicaraguan widow who raised ten children with very few resources. Sixteen years ago, after her husband died, she began doing odd jobs around town to support herself and to help her children raise their children in whatever way she could.
A few years ago, an estranged family member showed up at Eusebia’s door with two young girls that Eusebia had never seen before.
A few years ago, an estranged family member showed up at Eusebia’s door with two young girls, aged 3 and 6, that Eusebia had never seen before. The man instructed the girls to sit on Eusebia’s porch while he briefly described the unfortunate circumstances which led their parents to abandon them. He stated that Eusebia would do a much better job raising these girls than anyone else. He hustled back to his car, and drove away—never to be seen or heard from again.
As Eusebia was recounting this story to us, she said that she looked at the two little strangers who were peering up at her in fear, thanked God for giving her such precious gifts. She wrapped her arms around them, and welcomed them into her home. She said that she had no idea how she was going to provide for them when she could hardly earn enough to take care of herself, but she wasn’t worried because she had faith God would give her all that she needed. And He has.
When Hazel’s sacramental preparation began, Eusebia explained the need for them to make small sacrifices each day to be able to save up the money they’d need for her Baptism and First Holy Communion. And so they did—at least until Eusebia’s daughter’s husband was injured in a work-related accident that left him unable to see, and consequently unable to work. Eusebia shared the little bit she had with Maria’s family, which meant that nothing was being saved for Hazel’s big day. Hazel thought that maybe she should stop attending the classes, but Eusebia assured her that somehow God would provide; that He would do what she couldn’t.
When Hazel’s sacramental preparation began, Eusebia explained the need for them to make small sacrifices each day to save up the money they’d need.
Fast-forward a few months to when we met this wonderful family and learned of their recent misfortunes. We brought them food and hygiene items, read the Bible, and sang songs of praise together, but what else could we do? About this same time we were planning for a group of short-term missionaries who would visit us in March, and it occurred to us that maybe we could all work together to help Eusebia—but how?
The idea came that we could refurbish the small chicken coops that she already had, and expand the large one to give her enough room for a rooster and several hens. Between the eggs and the chickens, they would have plenty to eat and maybe even have some extra to sell. During the mission trip, we did just that. Each day that we worked, Eusebia and her daughter, Maria, prepared lunch for our group, which is something that we’d typically pay people to do.
However, when discussing the details of this arrangement, Eusebia insisted that her payment be the improved chicken coops, nothing more. Without much thought, we agreed. After the work was done and the short-term missionaries left, Chris set out to pay the various women who had cooked for us, but something stopped him. Something didn’t feel right. We talked and prayed, prayed and talked, but couldn’t make sense of the restlessness in our hearts. It seemed that the Holy Spirit wanted us to pay Eusebia for the work that she had done, but why? We had fulfilled our commitment and she was thrilled. What was the problem?
After more prayer, we decided that we should pay Eusebia, even if we didn’t know why. When Chris arrived at her house, Eusebia was reluctant to accept the money because she felt that she had already been overly compensated for the small bit of work that she had done. Chris insisted, and she finally agreed.
We decided that we should pay Eusebia, even if we didn’t know why.
A couple of days later, when we returned to see how the chicken coop roofs were holding up after the storms that had passed through, she showed us a photo of Hazel’s baptism, which had been celebrated earlier that day. We vaguely remembered them mentioning the fact that Hazel was attending the sacrament preparation classes at church, but nothing more.
When Hazel came out of the house she had the biggest smile ever and joyfully agreed to put her gown back on so that we could see how pretty she looked for her special day. She was especially excited about the beautiful barrettes that they were able to buy. Not only was Hazel baptized, but she also received her First Holy Communion!
Eusebia thanked us for the money, but more importantly, thanked us for allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. She explained that when Hazel began the sacramental prep classes, she had no idea how they’d pay for the associated expenses. When her daughter’s husband lost the ability to work and therefore support their family, it seemed impossible, but Eusebia never lost hope.
In the eyes of the world, Eusebia doesn’t have much to give the two girls that were dropped off at her house three years ago, but in reality, she’s giving them the most valuable gifts of all: faith, hope, and love. We thank God for allowing us to witness Eusebia’s unshakeable faith and for sending the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts that day.
Karen CarmodyMission page: carmodyfamily.familymissionscompany.com
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