Our trip was two days of learning about the lives of the campesinos, listening to their stories, worshipping, singing, praying, eating, laughing, talking, and trekking through mud.
It started raining about noon on Saturday, and didn’t stop until about 10am Sunday morning. We often found ourselves crowded under the porch or sitting on the bus, waiting for the rain to lighten up, and timing our activities around how hard it was coming down. Between the rain and 20 odd people running back and forth, the dirt yard and steep paths between houses were churned to thick mud. By the end of the weekend half of us had been splashed or fallen at some point.
On the bus ride home I reflected on the reality of that statement. I’ve participated in foot washing rituals in church before, but I’ve never before experienced it as the disciples must have. When we wash each other’s feet in church, we’re pouring water over already clean feet. When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he was scrubbing away the dust and mud from the road. I imagine him cleaning the dirt from between their toes, and taking special care to rinse away the splatter on their ankles as well, just as the woman did for us.
In that moment I finally understood the humility of service. From my place of privilege I wondered “what can I do to serve and help these people who have so little?” But while I was wondering, they were doing. The community opened their homes to us, cooked our food, shared their water, gave us their spare beds and places to hang hammocks, and helped us push the bus out of the mud and fill in the gap in the road where the rain had washed it away. And after watching us fumble around and cause more work for them for two days, this women still washed our feet without a second thought. Because that’s the lesson of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. That’s what service is. It’s taking every opportunity to serve, without thinking about whether the person deserves it, or whether culture says it’s appropriate, or wondering whether you are too good to do it. But more than that, it’s about having the humility to see every opportunity to serve. In my pride, it never occurred to me to wash my friends’ feet. In her humility, she saw a need that she could fill, and so she filled it, without even asking or giving us a chance to say no. Service isn’t about some grand action that completely turns around someone’s life. It’s about the little, get your hands dirty moments that tell people, we’re in this together.
You can find more photos from the weekend here.