Reprinted from Lion's Mark:
Sometimes, I play on Google Earth. Far above the stratosphere, one flick of the mouse and a three-fingered hand spins the world whimsically before plunging one closer to planet earth. First, all green over the americas, advancing toward cities, more gray. From a satellite, miles above the earth, zooming and zooming, I’m hovering now above my destination: 1625 Locust Street, 19103, N 39°, 56‘57.12”. The bell tower is casting a shadow over the nave; the green copper roof of the Lady Chapel is in clear sight! I pull the earth west and can see the slate steps to the Parish Hall, a shadow from the magnolia tree falling half along the steps...
Now church is asking us to extend our arms to the far reaches of Central America to one of one of the most impoverished regions in the western hemisphere. From Saint Mark’s, Google Earth pulls me back into space, adjusts my course, and plummets me back to Earth, south of the Gulf of Mexico, to a steaming hot place just west of the Caribbean but too far to actually embrace the water or its comforts. The satellite image falters greatly here. There is no detail as fine as those captured in our region. All one can see are the tops of full, green trees.
What lies below those trees? My best imagination is stumped by privilege and birthright. Below the trees, I read, we will find a village. In that village are men and women whose backs ache from hard labor and whose only relief comes from medicines brought by missionaries. There is a village below the trees whose populace share the meager food they have with intestinal worms, whose children have never tasted a multivitamin and who need antibiotics. Below one tree is an anemic woman who needs an iron supplement; and there is a man with a deep, infected wound that’s only getting worse. We don’t know their names yet. But in late August, we will know their names and their stories.
Back at N 39° 56‘57.12”, and just west of the magnolia tree, lies an office at Saint Mark’s Church. From Google earth, I cannot make out the diamand-cut leaded glass cut for those windows long ago. In that office, however, I know that there are boxes and boxes of supplies that a team of missionaries from this holy place will bring with them to the town of Concepcion del Norte, Honduras this August. We will come back with stories, and each story will have attached to it a face. Faces becomes blurry at a mere hundred feet. Stories, though, are blazoned in our hearts and can be heard from here to heaven! Fifteen of us will travel there. Fifteen of us will come home with stories, and every story we’ll heap on the alter, a sacrifice to our Lord.