The Tacloban Nazarene Church was a flurry of activity as we prepared for our medical mission. Numerous giant boxes had been shipped ahead, full of shoes, clothing toys, hygiene and medical supplies for the impoverished communities nearby. A sense of anticipation and joy was in the air as the boxes were finally opened. Many hands made the labor of sorting light, young and old, all joining in to divide the items up for each community. At the same time, there were individuals in the group who had needs themselves. As I walked from table to table, overseeing the affair, I noticed Luisa.

” It was then that I remembered God’s word, and a tear came to my eyes…”

Luisa is a youth who has lived in the community since she was taken in by a relative who lives nearby. It is unclear what happened to her parents. But she is a special young lady. You see, Luisa is deaf. It is unclear what caused it but she has been that way since birth or infancy. I watched her as she carefully surveyed the large piles of unsorted items and quickly pulled our pairs of shoes. My first thought was that the shoes were all different sizes, but that none of them would fit her. I stepped forward to help her find a pair that would fit, since her feet were bare, but then I realized what she was doing. Luisa carried each pair to a waiting adult or child standing barefoot outside the gate.

It was then that I remembered God’s word, and a tear came to my eyes. The Bible says in James 1:22,

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”.

You see, Luisa may not be able to hear but she loves the Lord and she understands what it is to serve. She also knows how to fit shoes!

That all happened last year while we were here for our medical mission. Since then an exciting thing has happened for Luisa. She has had her hearing tested and she has been fitted with hearing aids by an Audiologist, due to the kindness of an anonymous donor. She will be receiving speech therapy and in time she will be able to communicate well verbally.

As we arrived to do the sorting this year a beautiful, smiling Luisa holding a homemade card out to me. Tears welled up again as I read the touching message that she wrote, as if Luisa’s beautiful smile was not enough to show her gratitude.