No matter the distance of our journey, it’s crucial that we embark on it.
The extremely hot weather had been the main topic of conversation for the entire day. Whether in Portuguese or in seven different Spanish accents, we all had the same complaint. Often nonverbally, we commiserated with each other while crossing paths in the little streets, among the tents, and especially in the showers. It was there that I met five bubbly young girls and suddenly found a story to tell.
“How many hours did you travel?” they ask in Portuguese, assuming that I understood their language.
“Thirty-six,” I answer, feeling a bit boastful. “And you?” I ask in my poor Portuguese.
“We traveled more than 80 hours. Three days on a boat, two planes, then many hours on a bus,” they reply enthusiastically.
When they see my astonishment, they feel encouraged to tell me more.
“We had to work very hard for two years in order to save enough money to get here. We sold boxes of honey, sandals, and many other things. When one of us reached the amount that was needed, we helped each other to earn the needed funds.”
I was startled by the tremendous effort of these sixth graders who were thrilled, enjoying the fruit of their hard work.
We talked for a little while longer. What had started as a casual conversation ended up a large circle of people from Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.
We were part of the 50,000 Pathfinders who met in Barretos, São Paulo, Brazil, for the first part of the South American Division Pathfinder Camporee in January.
No matter where we came from, we were in need of water right then. By the end of the day we all had the same needs as human beings. We were getting ready for the evening worship service and wanted to be clean after a long day of activities.
There is no way we can cross the barriers that sometimes separate us if we don’t recognize our common shared needs. We need to communicate with each other, listen to each other’s stories, and see each other as people whom Jesus came to save. It’s not a matter of color, race, or language.
No matter the distance of our journey, it’s crucial that we embark on it. There are always difficulties and obstacles. Other people might seem to achieve their goals faster, or need less to obtain the same results. That’s OK. Our God is a personal Savior. Comparison does not define His relationships. He is more than able to provide for everyone according to His will and in response to our faith (Phil. 4:19).
No matter the means of transportation and the places of origin, a focus on Jesus will help us walk in the same direction. We look at the same fixpoint when we pray, when we study His Word, when we see His handiwork in nature, or when we are committed to reaching others for Him.
No matter how much we have accomplished in our spiritual lives, if we want to bear fruit we must remain in Jesus and share what He has done for us with others (John 15).
Salvation is a matter of faith, but we must remember that our actions and testimony can be a powerful blessing for others—even if it means selling honey and sandals.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’ . . . But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are not destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Heb. 10:35-39, NIV).