Mama Tara sat on a mattress outside on her back porch fresh awake from her afternoon nap.   I knew as I approached that she wasn’t in her chair and there was a twinge of uncertainty in my stomach.   But then I saw her… on the mattress and all was well with the world.

We gabbed about garlic as a natural remedy for intestinal parasites and a plant called King’s Aula which, when made into a tea, promotes love and romance.   Our conversation went geographically as far as England and as close as the neighbor’s house.  Traveling light around the world with words.

Behind me, the sounds of Miskito voices reading “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” in Spanish.   Awe rises up in me as I realize the impact of one book on a group of kids.   It is as if I had brought 50 bags of candy… one book.

For a moment, I was able to forget the problems of the people we work with and just enjoy a few laughs with a friend and a few moments of inspiration with precious children.  And then, I saw them.  The vultures.   Circling.

10… 20… maybe more.  And landing like a black alien ship, just feet from the porch.

Scavengers.  Thieves.  Patient predators…  seeking death so that they can devour.

In the world of children born into this region, vultures of the literal and figurative kind are constantly seeking to destroy the pinprick of hope that exists… forever pursuing, forever diving.

Hunger.  Illiteracy.   Tragedy.   Filth.   Insecurity.   Lethargy.   Disease.

One step forward, two steps back.  

As my Spanish improves, the door has opened for several young women to share more than the casual.   Opportunity to listen to their stories.   Opportunity to share about my Savior.  Opportunity to provide whatever small  encouragement I can before the vultures come, hovering.

Vultures do not like living things… their domain is the deceased.   So, a solution.  Life.  If life continues pulsing through these young people, if tomorrow continues to be something they pursue, the vultures will find themselves unwelcome.  

My job is easy.  Words of encouragement, forever pointing toward a God who gave LIFE and cares about the life of each one, projects that help keep that LIFE alive,  a listening ear to hear dreams,  connecting the dots to help a future have wings for that one, keeping the vultures at bay by pouring all that I have into LIFE …    my job.  A small, behind-the-scenes job.  

Vulture patrol.


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