This post was written by Chelsea Hill, from VisionTrust’s Ministry Information Team, after she lead a group of college students to Peru in January.
One of the most valuable lessons I was reminded of while I was on my last trip in Peru was the importance of focusing on the one. When we go on these mission trips or do anything where we are in full-time ministry, it is so easy to get consumed in the mindset of what I call BIG ministry. We get so passionate about serving the Lord, hurting children and people around the world, that we want to do more and more the bigger our hearts get. We become aware that there is so much pain and loss in this world, and the greater our awareness becomes, the more we feel like we have to combat the pain and the loss. We get so caught up in the numbers of helping so many people, feeding so many people, saving so many people that we forget God did not call us to minister to the masses; rather, God called us to minister to the one.
Time and time again in scripture we see Jesus taking the time to focus in on one individual…the woman at the well, Mary with the alabaster jar, Zacchaeus, the woman with the issue of blood, the thief on the cross, the demon possessed man from Gerasenes. What is fascinating about most of these stories, is that Jesus constantly finds opportunities to focus on and zero in on the one in the midst of the masses…the one person in the crowd who needed His full attention the most.
While in Peru, our team had the opportunity to spend nearly a week at the VisionTrust Casa Luz Transitional Home. In the excitement of making new friends, learning new games and experiencing new songs and crafts, it did not take long for the team to notice that one of the boys, Marciel who is seven years old, was much more difficult than all the other children. He was disobedient, he liked to steal toys from the other kids, he would not join the group activities, and he wouldn’t respond to team members when they said his name—nobody even guessed that they were calling him by the wrong name. Some of the team members had heard his name was Jack Marshal, but he clearly was not responding to that name.
A couple days into spending time at this Transitional Home, I decided to try and break down “Jack Marshal’s” walls. I sat down next to him on the cement where he was playing and suddenly became very interested in his toy, but more importantly, interested in him. I asked him his name and he told me his name was “Marciel”. I gave him all my attention, because he would immediately get jealous as soon as my attention was divided. As I got down to his level and zeroed in on him and him alone, I started to see Marciel’s smile surface. I had all his attention and he became the sweetest and most obedient boy in the world.
Later I learned that Marciel was not an orphan due to the death of his parents, but because he had been abandoned by his parents twice. His father also struggles with an addiction to alcohol and is very abusive. The first time Marciel’s parents abandoned him, the orphanage he was placed in gave him back to his family. The second time his parents abandoned him, the government placed him in Casa Luz. This boy is only seven years old and has already lived to see his parents abandon him twice. I also learned that he was the second youngest child in a family of 11 and he had only been in the Casa Luz Transitional Home for 3 months—no wonder we were having behavioral struggles with him.
With Marciel’s abusive past still so fresh in his memory, he still has difficulty connecting with people. He is learning what it means to be a part of a family that loves him. More importantly, he is learning that he is valuable, that he is worth being cared for and that he is worthy of being loved. My intentional interaction with him confirmed these truths in his life. It would have been so easy for me to disregard him as a mean little boy, but instead I took extra interest in him. Jesus set the example of taking time for the one person who needs your love and attention the most. It is our role to follow in His steps and walk in obedience in the example He set. The one is always more important than the masses because the one will turn into the masses as you live a life of ministry.