"He sat in an old hammock, strung up between the two sides of his small shelter at the edge of the city garbage dump. The structure, built from items found in the trash, was maybe ten feet long by five feet wide. But it provided a place to get away from the bright Guatemalan sun, and four or five of us stepped gratefully inside, not knowing who we were about to meet.
The man was old, very old. The deep lines etched into his face grew deeper still as he smiled and shook hands with each of his visitors. He wore jeans, a shirt, and a white cowboy hat.
“Me gusta tu sombrero,” I said as I shook the old man’s hand. “I like your hat.”
“Gracias,” he replied, and then went on to explain that he owns two cowboy hats - one for working, and one for going out on the town. He was ninety-three years old.
Pastor Roni sat beside the man, and the two began to talk. The man’s name was Sixto. Their conversation spanned many topics, not all of which I was able to follow with my limited Spanish - but they talked of God, and I could understand that Sixto was telling of the creation account, of the waters and the skies.
“Tiene un biblia? Do you have a Bible?” Pastor Roni asked. Sixto explained that he had once owned the precious book, but it had been destroyed in the weather. Pastor Roni told him he would return with another one, one with big letters. Sixto responded with gratitude. We closed our eyes and prayed aloud for him, lifting the man from the garbage dump up to the throne room of Heaven, to a God who sees, and who holds for Sixto an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4).
My husband and I talked about it later, of the contentment displayed in the old man’s language and demeanor. “These people may need our financial help, but they don’t need our spiritual help,” he observed. Like the apostle Paul, Sixto has learned “the secret of being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12). With Paul, the old man in the cowboy hat can declare, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
With God’s help, maybe someday soon I will be able to say it with the same conviction."
-Debbie Canfield, a participant of PJM's summer mission trip in July of 2019