Every now and again I remember Chabba Salvador, the man I met in the dump at Puerto Vallarata this past summer. If you don’t know the story….I went on a mission trip with my church to help the people who live and work around the old dump of this vast tourist city. We fed people and loved them for the short time we were there. We were all impacted by what we saw. One man in particular struck in my heart. His name is Chabba. The very first time I saw him, I knew there was something different about him. Even though he was dirty from digging through trash, I had to go up and shake his hand. We talked, albeit in small words and short phrases because my Spanish was very basic and his English was even more so. But still, I was able to hear part of his story. He is a man with a family who wakes up every day, thanking God for his daily bread. Literally, he trusts that each day God is going to give his family enough to eat that day. The smile on his face told me that he had full confidence in his God. Even though he worked in a dump of all places, making pitiful amounts of money each night, he was so extremely grateful for all that he was given. There was absolutely no question in his heart that God would take care of him.
When things get tough, I remember Chabba. He taught me so much. I have so much compared to him, yet the simplicity of his faith, of his trust in God, is something I admire immensely. The rock-solid belief in a God who loves him and wants to take care of him is outstanding. In my life, I want that confidence each and every minute that I live. Most days and times I am strong in that faith, and do not lack in the assurance of the provisions of my God. There are times though where our feet get weary. We don’t lose hope, but we just need our Saviour to come and carry us for a time.
When my heart gets weary, and I ask my Jesus to carry me for a time, I remember Chabba, and his smile. I remember the second time we spoke, under the starry sky with the pile of garbage in the background. Words almost fail me as I try to capture that moment. In the vastness of this world, I was sent to find a man I might never talk to on a normal day. Yet God wanted to touch my heart, through this man. As Chabba talked to me about his God who provides so much, his smile stretched across the sky. It lit up the night brighter than any star up above. His hands moved to emphasize the depth of the conviction of his heart. And in his eyes, there was no weariness. Just a twinkle that said, “I am loved by the Most High God, who sent his Son to save my soul. What more could I need?”
Today, I choose to remember Chabba, and all that God has blessed me with.