I had something of an epiphany today. I was sitting once again in the same little Mexican church that I visited in August. The service was completely in Spanish and as the offertory basket made its way slowly up and down the rows, my mind drifted back to Mexico. Something reminded me of the cook at the Casa Hogar, with whom I spent many hours this past winter; standing side by side on the slippery white kitchen tile, cooking, talking, laughing, and occasionally crying.
As memories of the time I spent with Hermana Dina flew through my mind, I felt the corners of my mouth turning up in a slight smile. Then, suddenly, lessons from Intro to Disciplemaking class came to mind.
Discipling someone is not about making them a better Christian, it’s about together becoming more like Christ.
It is sacrifice. Honesty. Compassion.
Living life is a discipleship process; take advantage of the opportunities that God gives you to disciple individuals in the different spheres of your life.
As lessons from class swirled together with memories of times with Hermana Dina, I realized that she had done exactly that. As we worked together to make meals for forty people every day, she showed me love and patience, both as I floundered my way through making tortillas for the first time, and as I careened haphazardly through this thing called life.
As we pulled the skin off of chiles rellenos, or diced mounds of onions, she answered my questions about life and God and boys and then turned right around and asked me questions. She remembered the things I told her, tucking my words and anecdotes, concerns and joys in the back of her mind for future reference. She asked about my family and made sure to meet my dad when he came to Mexico at the end of my stay.
Hermana Dina is wise, kind, patient, honest, funny, and an amazing cook. She never went out of her way or took special pains to treat me with love, but rather, it came to her naturally and seamlessly. She welcomed me into the kitchen and took advantage of the time we had together to help me delve deeper into what was in my own heart, as well as grow more like Jesus.
And I never realized how thankful I am for her until this morning, sitting in a little Mexican church in Chicago.