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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph


Opportunities have been opening up for us to support our local church. We led a youth discipleship Bible study, helped with the VBS program and Eddie also chaperoned a couple of youth trips. As I've seen Eddie come alive in his work with youth, I've felt like I didn't quite fit.

Both Eddie and I have worked with youth for many years, so when I imagine different ways we can contribute here, it makes sense that we could both thrive in youth work. What the past few weeks have clarified for me is that our strengths, personalities and passions are vastly different. What energizes Eddie, like large crowds of rowdy teens, is not my cup of tea.

For awhile, my inner dialogue was telling me that I just don't fit youth work anymore. What fits Eddie like a glove will never be a match for me.

Being an introvert, the work I've done with youth has largely been one-on-one and has allowed me to go deep with them. I thrive when building relationships and supporting people who have been beat up by life or are going through a crisis.

My friend, Manuel, was 13 years old when I first came to Belize to serve. He was a recent immigrant who had very little formal education. He didn't speak the official language here, was poor and had a stutter. I spent almost every day with Manuel that year; playing marbles, going swimming in the river, helping him learn some basic Math and English, talking about life.

This weekend, while Eddie was on a church camping trip with our son, I got a call from Manuel. His 5 year old son had had an accident and torn his hand open. They had come to our town for the hospital emergency room and I was their first call.

I dropped everything and scooped up their family of five from the side of the road. Their son had his hand stitched back together and a follow-up appointment in the morning. They were hungry and needed a place to stay.

With Eddie and AJ out of town, we had more than enough room for this exhausted family to settle in for the night. Manuel and his wife told me the story of the accident and how terrified they had been for their baby. Over the hours of our visit, I saw Manuel start to decompress from all the fear and Adrenalin he'd been carrying. His three kids made a mess and played with our kids' toys. We talked about life, marriage, work and parenting. We laughed and commiserated and I felt God's presence in our midst.

Galatians 6:2 says, "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

The next morning, after filling them up with eggs and fresh tortillas, I dropped them back at the hospital for their wound appointment. I praise God that their son won't lose the use of his hand. I praise God for friendship and being available to be there for my friends. And, this week especially, I am thankful for the reminder that even though my contribution looks wildly different from my Pied Piper husband's, being here is the right fit.

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