ARONI’S PRAYER TOUCHES OUR HEARTS IN BELIZE
Never Has the “Our Father” Meant So Much
It’s a prayer we’ve memorized since childhood, but one not readily recognized when given choked-up and in Spanish with heads bowed.
So it was with Aroni when our mission team gathered in a large circle around him in his front yard before leaving Tuesday. We had traveled at least 1½ hours over rough roads and two hand-cranked ferries to find his family in the remote village of Chunox in northern Belize. 14-year-old Aroni and his 8-year-old sister, Mari, suffer from an undiagnosed genetic neurological disorder that leaves you incapacitated and blind before an early death. Their older sister, Clarissa, died a year ago at age 14. The two youngest girls seem to have been spared.
The Santoya family also live outside the reach of the nearest electrical pole and do not have a bathroom or shower. I would travel the world over for Aroni’s smile and his heart that beats so strong for the Lord. His world is now dark in so many ways as he waits the progression of his disease. Sister Mari is not that far behind and yet shares his radiant smile.
Our team will fight to make sure electricity flows into the home before we leave (pray for this) and that a bathroom/shower is well under way (to be finished by local labor). We “loved upon them” in the best ways we knew how Tuesday before that circle of prayer.
I asked Aroni if he would start our time of prayer together. Not until later did we know what he had actually prayed, but we knew it was full of passion. I continued the best I could when he was finished, working my way through my own tears. Then as we hugged and kissed, Aroni was burying himself in his mother’s arms crying to her in Spanish that he didn’t want us to leave.
When Jesus taught us to pray, he said, “Do not heap empty phrases.” But rather say, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done…” (Matt 6:7-13). We were relinquishing our will for His. Oh how hard a task at times, except to know that Tuesday we were rehearsing a scene “as it is in heaven.”