Holy Moment in the Underground Train
Friday, July 18
30 frames per second. 60 frames per second.
I'm still amazed that my point-and-shoot camera has the capability to capture video and even gives me the option of setting the quality level.
But even with the myriad of cameras on this project (all 65 students seem to have one), recording each significant, life-shaping moment is like trying to catch a waterfall in the palm of your hand -- impossible.
Everyday, every hour, God choreographs real-life dramas for our students to enter.
Some are simple such as attempting to order food in a foreign language. Others are planned events like a ministry outreach to the destitute.
But many seem spontaneous, materializing with no warning to touch the hearts of our students and strangers with His love in unsuspecting ways.
I invite you to read Josh Mackin's account of one such snapshot, one frame among the thousands that are composing this project and transforming our students.
The metro (subway train) hisses high and shrill, metal grinding on metal as friction eases the car into the next stop.
Doors slide open on compressed gas; bodies like waves crash across the threshold and careen into each other; seats fill; and for the unlucky ones, a forest of hands soon rises up to grasp any free bits of support-railing -- meager protection against the subway's capricious lurch.
Into this scene enters a man, dressed with great dignity in an impeccable suit-and-tie, pushing what is obviously his own wheelchair.
He struggles over the hump between platform and subway car on failing legs, the last to enter, unsteady as a wave-tossed cork. When the doors close, and the machine stirs to life, he scrambles for the safety of his wheelchair.
It's too late: the man reels, hands out desperately, his two feet useless against the gathering speed of the metro. The ground eyes him cruelly.
At Least One Real Gentleman Left in the World
Cam Harder, 17, an MK from Russia, steps in with quick grace. Firmly grasping the beleaguered man's hand and helping him into his wheelchair, Cam -- without any sort of grandstanding or ostentation -- has just been thrust unwittingly into the kind of "unlooked-for gospel opportunities" abundant around us here in Mexico.
"There are no real gentlemen left in the world," the wheelchair-bound man informs Cam, deeply impressed.
The man once was a jockey, a racer of horses, but after multiple accidents finally shattered his legs, he now lives a quiet life as a businessman, far removed from the track and field.
The man smiles and laughs. Written deep within the lines of his face, however, pain has left its indelible mark.
"It is because of the love of God that you can still be smiling," Michael Wicker, 22, an MK from Lesotho and Zimbabwe remarks, overhearing the conversation. "Thank God you're still happy. Despite all your surgeries and hardships, you're still smiling."
Hearing these simple words, the man leans forward suddenly, grabs Michael's neck and grasps Cam's hand.
An Intense Moment
His voice strains, breaks, snaps with emotion, water obscures his vision and he looks dead into Michael's eyes: "Because you believe in a God, I will live longer. Because of His love, I will live longer. For these words, I will live longer. I won't stop living."
It is a confounding moment, unplanned, full of mystery for Cam and Michael. They reel before his fervor. Who is this man? What chain of events brought their worlds into collision? Why his depth of feeling?
And further still: what incredible vehicles does grace commandeer to transform something as mundane as a metro ride into the stuff of heaven?
A small moment, perhaps, but when Michael tells me of it later, his eyes shimmer with deep emotion.
The man's touch lingers a moment longer. The metro comes to the next stop. The man gets up, pushes the wheelchair off, and is gone.